Page 1

Volume 42 Issue 1

Airbands: Behind the spotlight —p. 14




Natural Disaster: How prepared is Palo Alto? —p. 5

Henry M. Gunn High School 780 Arastradero Road Palo Alto, CA 94306 Palo Alto Unified School District

Halloween: Halloween costumes —pp. 18-19

Wednesday, October 5, 2005



Permit #44 Palo Alto, Calif. 780 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto, CA 94306

School bans Homecoming 2005 The Results freak dancing Overall

Administration plans to aggressively enforce “no freaking” policy Misha Guttentag Forum Editor

The administration will step up its enforcement of a “no freak dancing” policy for future dances, Principal Noreen Likins said in a statement made in the October issue of the Gunn Spotlight. “Freak dancing,” loosely defined as “aggressively sexual actions and movements,” has recently come under fire as the administration, with combined efforts from the Student Executive Council and dance chaperones, aims to curb the behavior Likins

1. Seniors 2. Sophomores 3. Juniors 4. Freshmen

Games 1. Seniors 2. Sophomores 3. Juniors 4. Freshmen

calls “ugly and embarrassing.” To stop such behavior at dances, Likins said administrators will patrol the dance, performing walk-throughs through large packs of students to make sure there are no violations. Students caught “freak dancing” will be asked to stop. Should the behavior persist past the warning, they will be asked to leave the dance. Despite student objection that the ban on “freak dancing” is an infringement on student rights, Likins plans to push forward with the plan, citing the fact that DANCE—page 4

Floats 1. Seniors 2. Sophomores 3. Juniors 4. Freshmen

Airbands 1. Seniors 2. Sophomores 3. Juniors 4. Freshmen

In Forum: Dance regulations too excessive —p. 8

Students welcome new food service Chartwells’ focus on freshness and quality draws long lines Andrea Wong Editor-in-Chief

Since the switch from Sodexho to Chartwells in July, food services on campus have undergone a significant makeover. The transformation of the old Academic Center into the new Bistro only paved the way for food improvements. One change is the freshness of food. On the secondary school level, the entrees are prepared on site. Most foods are homemade in the kitchen, except for meat products, which are defrosted and precooked an evening before serving. “Things are more hands-on than last year,” food services assistant Maria Turner said. “For example, last year we had frozen pizzas. This year, we have our own crust, sauce, cheese

and toppings, and we bake them ourselves.” According to Jeane Aitken, consultant for student nutrition services, the new food service is also working to increase variety. Now, students can choose items from Origins, which offers culturally themed entrees, Trattoria, which are pizzas and Italian baked foods, and Fresh Grille, which includes burgers, and an assortment of accompaniments and à la carte items. The menu will also be changing throughout the year. “[The food] is better than last yearʼs because there is more variety,” junior John Sun said. Students can buy a full meal, which comprises an entrée, milk, salad and fruit, for $3, or they can pick and choose items in the FOOD—page 4

Jonathan Cheung

Seniors Dorian Bertsch and Noa Bruhis grace the Homecoming throne. They were crowned Homecoming king and queen last Friday. HOMECOMING—page 15

Gunn unites to aid Katrina victims Donations and performances fundraise for disaster Sree Kode News Editor

Various clubs and businesses helped to raise money for Hurricane Katrina relief on Sept. 23 and 24 with the Arts and Edibles Fair and an Open Mic Night that included a raffle. “Businesses in the community have kindly donated various prizes which we are raffling off during breaks in the show,” English teacher and co-organizer Jessie Hawkins said. “They donated everything from gift certificates, movie tickets, clothing, journals, live plants and food.” The number of people who attended the Open Mic Night was so large that the organizers had to turn away people at the door. “It was a huge success not just in financial terms but in the willingness to give back to the community and the support that the audience had for the performers,” English teacher and co-organizer KATRINA—page 4

Photo courtesy of Osma Dossani

Students strike out eclectic melodies to raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims. The two club-sponsored events—Open Mic Night and the Arts and Edibles Fair— raised over $3,000 for the cause.

Page 2 ◆ The Oracle ◆


Wednesday, October 5, 2005


New year brings new website Website facilitates navigation of student events Palo Alto to hold college fair

Anthony Wang Features Editor

Last yearʼs STAR test results contributed to a four point increase in Gunnʼs Academic Performance Index (API) to 881 points. However, the juniorsʼ and sophomoresʼ API dropped an average of 70 points, while the freshmen API rose by a large margin. “Overall, juniors actually didnʼt do as well as we would have liked,” Principal Noreen Likins said. “Juniors and sophomores last year dropped around 70 points.” The drop in scores may be linked to the fact that many juniors and sophomores take the test lightly. Additionally, Juniors have to deal with taking many tests in the spring time including APs and the SAT. The administration last year held off the test until the last week of the allocated time period allowed for STAR testing. “Itʼs certainly a valid argument that juniors have other things to do,” Likins said. “However, last year we nullified the argument because we arranged for STAR testing when most APs for juniors were already over.” Though there could be repercussions for low scoring, Gunn has continually scored much higher than any state guidelines. “Gunn students have always scored very high on the STAR test,” test supervisor Kim Cowell said.“The only thing we need to look after is that there might not be enough students in each group participating in the test, which could also lead to cuts in funding.”

JLS bans backpacks in class Administrators at Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School (JLS) have been encouraging students to leave books and backpacks in designated lockers. Though the administration strongly condones the act in hopes that it will help teach students to be more organized, students are not required to leave materials in lockers. No punitive measures will be taken against students who bring their backpacks into the classroom. According to principal Don Cox, the district had wanted students to lock up the bulk of their school materials while classes were in session ever since JLS installed its lockers five years ago. The staff decided last year to promote locker use. Teachers and other staff members are also encouraging locker use by helping with the planning and organization of the practice. Kids Jane Lathrop Stanford (KJLS), the student-run morning video announcement program, has been advocating the change during morning announcements. The practice is not likely to spread to Palo Altoʼs high schools.

False alarm disrupts Last week several unexpected fire alarms disrupted homecoming activities. Multiple false alarms were reported, including one on Sept. 28 that almost interrupted the obstacle course lunch activity and one that went off a few hours after the night rally. A malfunctioning smoke detector in the gym triggered the fire alarms. Although this faulty smoke detector was soon replaced, there was another false alarm that went off around 11:15pm at the homecoming dance. After a half hour inspection of the gym, students were allowed to re-enter the dance for another 25 minutes. Each time the alarm was triggered the fire department responded immediately and inspected the gym to reveal the malfuction. An electrician is currently investigating the problem with the smoke detectors. —Compiled by Gea Kang, Moses Lai, Alex Shau and Brennan Bird

Alex Lee

New website is user friendly and encourages InClass use. animations, and browser compatibility.” Weinmann said. A new feature of the webpage this year is the expansion and further incorporation of the InClass service, with accounts for both parents and students. “Although many teachers still maintain a web page with personal and professional information and resources posted for students, most are using InClass for day-to-day communication,” Weinmann said. In designing the new web page, the web-design team has added additional information. “The new page contains more static information,” Weinmann said. “Information will be updated once or twice per year.” This information includes staff contact information, school report card and the school calendar. The new web page, however, still features useful web links and features from the previous years. The Daily Bulletin is still updated daily. Teachers web pages are also still available to students. Students like the new webpage. “Itʼs better than the old one,” senior

Richard Ho said. “Itʼs cleaner and easier to navigate. The old web site used to have three big inefficient images maps that took forever to load.” Still, the group has more work to do on the webpage. “Our next step is to update all of the old pages with the new layout,” Chen said. “We hope that the new webpage is more navigable than the old one and that it is more of use and that everything is more intuitive.” With only a small team of four people, work always needs to be done in the most efficient way. “Many districts employ a full-time web master to maintain the pages of the schools within the district,” Weinmann said. “Some schools have a class that is dedicated to maintaining and updating the school web page. We do not have either of these resources.”

To contribute to the webpage contact Lettie Weinmann in RC-1 or at

Freshman president speaks out From planning airbands to encouraging school spirit, the leaders of the class of 2009 have plenty to do. Here is what they have planned for this year. The gameplan: My main goal is to boost the freshman spirit because right now there are not as many people involved as Iʼd like there to be.

Alison Maggioncalda

API results lower than expected

Technology Coordinator and science department Instructional Supervisor Lettie Weinmann, web page design teacher Patricia Bruegger, Director of Instructional Technology Darlene Feldstein and junior Dan Chen have combined their efforts to construct a new Gunn webpage. Early spring this year, Bruegger, Feldstein and Weinmann began designing the new web page when the old page, designed by students in Brueggerʼs web page design class several years ago, became obsolete and disorganized. “At that time it met the needs of the school as both a communication tool and as a vehicle for students to learn web page design skills,” Weinmann said. “As the curriculum for the web page class evolved, it grew away from simple page design and maintenance and the old page was left up with no real structure in place to keep the information, links or overall look updated and fresh.” “The old page was getting hard to manage,” Chen added. “It was getting hard to update stuff because everything was all in one image.” Since early this spring, Weinmann, with the help of Bruegger and Feldstein, outlined a process to update the web page. “It included re-evaluating the role of the page, identifying the needs of various groups of users, identifying a process to create a new page and a process for maintaining the new page once posted,” Weinmann said. After determining the new web pageʼs role and the information to be posted online, Chen was selected to design the new web page. He worked closely with Feldstein, Weinmann and Bruegger. “Many different looks were considered and much time went into the discussion of function, including pull-down menus, flash

Taylor McAdam

On October 10, Palo Alto High School (Paly) will host the annual College Fair in the boysʼ and girlsʼ gyms from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Approximately 100 colleges from all over the country, most of them private institutions, will be represented. CSU, UC and community college representatives will not be present. Open to students of all ages, the fair will give students an opportunity to talk to college representatives and obtain brochures, answers to specific questions and other general information. College & Career Center coordinator Sara Bronstein considers the fair a good chance for students to be exposed to different colleges and information. Although parents are also welcome, she encourages students to take initiative and pose questions to the representatives directly. “It shows maturity and gives reps a good impression,” she said. According to senior Jin-Jay Chang, who attended last yearʼs fair held at Gunn, although the fair did not offer him any new information, it was still worth attending. “It was useful in the sense that if you donʼt go, youʼll wonder what youʼre missing,” Chang said. The same evening, Karen Cooper, Director of the Financial Aid Office at Stanford University, will present a financial aid workshop in the dance studio in Palyʼs girlsʼ gym at 7:30 p.m.

Outlook for the year: I want to let the freshmen know that we all need to get more involved if we want to make any difference this year. On bling bling: After Homecoming, one of my goals is to raise money for the freshmen. To raise money, we will have a couple of fundraisers, like selling candygrams and directing cars at Stanford football games. We also will sell other stuff that companies provide. Ali Maggioncalda and I would also like to raise money for new SAC furniture.

Alison Maggioncalda

Taylor McAdam

Freshmen leaders President: Alison Maggioncalda Vice President: Taylor McAdam Site Council Rep: Jenny Guan Class Council: James Barnett Tiffany Giang Amarelle Hanyecz Gordon Lanza Matthew Lee Viktoria Tsukanov Wendy Zhang —Compiled by Anthony Wang

Wednesday, October 5, 2005 ◆


Page 3 ◆ The Oracle


Big plans for new tech class Measure A effects

evident on campus

Engineering Tech replaces robotics team

Passed in June, Measure A has helped restore cut funds

Sree Kode News Editor

Vivien Tsao


ngineering Technology, the class that was once merged with the Gunn Robotics Team (GRT), has been reopened because of the closure of GRT last year. E n g i n e e r i n g Te c h n o l o g y teacher Bill Dunbar taught both classes. “GRT became so popular that GRT and Engineering Technology became the same,” Dunbar said. This new classʼs curriculum is not solely focused on robotics but will cover all types of engineering. Right now, the students are focusing on small projects and shop training. However, students still look forward to taking part in competitions even though they do not know which ones yet. The new environment is more relaxed. “Itʼs now less of a student team and more of a class,” Dunbar said. “I think that the intensity will be somewhat lower, but Iʼm looking forward to being able to relax with students and working within the classroom.” The new class also does not have any student leadership.


Jonathan Cheung

Senior Ian Henderson and junior Johnny Stefanski construct a project in the Engineering Tech. The class will enter competitions throughout the school year. “After last year there was a decision made that there would be too much pressure on a student leader,” senior Daniela Buchman said. “Plus, we donʼt know what weʼre doing this year.” Dunbar, however, does have some big projects planned for the year, one of which includes making a robotic fortune-telling booth. Using a robotic arm donated to GRT by the Veterans Affairs Hospital last year, Dunbar wants to have the students create a fortuneteller holding tarot cards or a crystal ball that they would then place in a public place. A third of the students are

new to the class this year. A few students did not return and the rest are old GRT students. “Thereʼs usually a person or two who donʼt return every year,” Buchman said. “They decide to focus on something else, school or another activity. Or they just have a full course load.” Despite the differences in the classes, Engineering Technology and GRT have similarities. “I liked, and still like, the unstructured, mostly self-directed class time,” senior Ian Henderson said. “After a long day of lectures and discussions, itʼs nice to have some time to just build stuff.”

Biannual blood drive a success Gunn students and staff eagerly donate blood Moses Lai Reporter

September 16 was indeed bloody Friday, as more than 96 students signed up for the biannual campus blood drive, sponsored by the California Scholarship Federation (CSF) club. “The student and adult volunteers and donors who gave so generously to make the fall blood drive a success should feel proud of themselves. Thank you to everyone who helped. Weʼll be asking you to roll up your sleeves in March for the spring drive,” club advisor Carol Kuiper said. Sixty-three successful donors contributed 189 components that can be used for transfusion. Senior James Moore said he felt “great” after donating blood. “I figure Iʼm helping out society,” Moore said. “I consider myself an ideal donor because Iʼm never dizzy.” But of the 96 willing donors, 29 were turned down because of various problems and restrictions. Among

them was senior Lindsay Ruggeri, who has tried to donate the last two years, but was rejected both times due to low blood iron count. Despite the disappointment, Ruggeri still found the experience worthwhile. “I learned I should eat more food with iron,” she said. While this blood drive did not see major changes, CSF attempted to streamline the blood giving process. “We are focusing on making the blood drive as organized as possible,” senior CSF club co-president Patty Fung said. The blood drive as widely advertised in attempt to attract as many donors as possible. “We advertised the blood drive in several different ways—having our members recruit donors, sign up sheets in the SAC and main office, announced in the daily bulletin and had a table during back-to-school night,” senior CSF club co-president Suhail Shaikh said. Held twice a year, the next blood drive will be in March.

Barely a month into the new school year, funding from Measure A has already brought significant improvements to campus life. On June 7 more than 73 percent of Palo Alto voters passed Measure A, a parcel tax of $493 for six years, to replace the current $293 parcel tax set to expire July 1, 2006. Though newly instated, Measure A has already benefitted the Gunn community. The Palo Alto Unified School District allocated enough money to Gunn to bring back a significant amount of support and supplies lost during budget cuts. “Weʼre very happy that we were able to reinstate staffing [that we had to give up due to budget cuts],” Principal Noreen Likins said. These positions include a full-time secretary for all faculty and a secretary for the math and science department. Attendance secretary hours, too, have been increased. “The direct impact Measure A had on the attendance department was that we were able to add an hour of paid time for each of the attendance secretaries,” assistant principal Anne-Marie Balzano said. “It has made monitoring attendance easier on them.” Other tangible benefits from Measure A include a partial reinstatement for instructional support of $25 per student, which has allowed Gunn to purchase four times the supplies for students compared to last year. Also, seventeen teaching periods have been reinstated, allowing more course periods to be added in different departments, and class sizes at Gunn were decreased. Most visibly, freshman biology clases host at maximum 28 students per class. “We were able to run a number of low-enrollment electives that we wouldnʼt have been able to do otherwise,” Likins said. Among the courses saved were German

1, Far East History, Multi-cultural Literature and the Holocaust. In other parts of the Palo Alto community, the Measure A parcel tax has also helped out. Elementary schools received the return of three out of four full time teachers for literacy and math support, a half time psychologist and t he Sp e ct r a Art program. In middle schools, there is a partial reinstatement of teaching periods at each of voters middle school, voted “yes” two counselors, and three on Measure instructional A in June a nd st udent support positions assigned b a s e d o n more inschool enroll- sructional ment. support This parcel funding per tax has also student reaffirmed confidence in todayʼs educational system and alleviated increase in the monetary student suppressu re on plies Palo Alto schools. “Education has basically teaching b e c ome t he periods reinwhipping boy stated of so ciet y,” Likins said. “ We we r e dealing with students low m o r a l e among staff maximum and students, in freshman too. Measure biology A was a vote classes of confidence from the community, stating, ʻWe approve of what you are doing.ʼ “From a practical standpoint, Measure A will last from five to six years, so there will be continued benefits,” she said.

Measure A by the numbers 73%





Saturday school reinstated for chronic delinquents New policy aims to boost attendance Alex Lee Reporter

Due to the large number of students who cut class, the administrative team—led by Principal Noreen Likins, assistant principal Anne-Marie Balzano, and Dean of Students Tom Jacoubowsky—decided to establish Saturday school with the support of the Instructional Council from the beginning of the school year.

Students with four cuts in a single subject must spend four hours on a Saturday morning working on educational activities. Failure to attend would result in a day of suspension the following week. Likins and other administrators created Saturday school as a deterrent to students who liked to cut classes. Last year alone, 1,197 students had one or more cuts, and 31.3 percent of those students were seniors. “Students who cut need more school, not less school,” Likins said. “This is intended to be a disincentive. It is the student who makes the choices that leads to cutting.”

School administrators will take turns supervising Saturday school in case any issues should arise. A teacher will be in the room with the students at all times. “I already have four teachers that volunteered for this, so we wonʼt hire a separate teacher for Saturday school,” Likins said. However, not all teachers are optimistic about the new additions to the attendance policy. French teacher Marcel Losier believes that the new policy is too lenient on students who decide to cut. “I believe that cutting class is unacceptable,” he said. “I think that students should have to make up an

hour for each cut.” Some students are uncertain of the programʼs effectiveness. “It wonʼt work because making students do stuff on a Saturday is quite juvenile,” senior Sam Wu said. “Iʼd rather take a day of suspension instead.” The new policy, some argue, is counterintuitive. “The people who cut usually donʼt even care about school,” sophomore Alex Esbar said. “They wonʼt come to Saturday school and they wonʼt mind the day of suspension because that means they wonʼt have any classes.” The administration believes that Saturday school could help make

students think twice about cutting and boost attendance. “Hopefully, given the choice between attending their scheduled classes or getting up early on a Saturday to be here from 8 to 12, students will choose the former,” Balzano said. “It is a good first step in better addressing the issue of students cutting classes, since the contract and being dropped from the class was clearly not enough.”

In Forum Saturday school’s effectiveness examined—p. 6

Page 4 ◆ The Oracle ◆


Wednesday, October 5, 2005


New food service wins students’ favor ■ FOOD, from page 1 Bistro. For instance, an entrée alone is $2.75. “Youʼre not getting more food than last year, but the quality of the food is just better,” Turner said. The length of the line, however, has been a deterrent. Because more students are buying school lunches, the service has been slow. Despite having two people manning the cashier, senior Khoa Hoang still sees room for improvement. “The organization is not as good as last yearʼs,” Hoang said. “Itʼs mostly because more people are getting food and people are always cutting. They should organize the line and not have it be one big thing that sticks out of the food court.” Food is scarcer on other parts of campus because of the new food policy passed July 1, 2005. The Student Activities Center (SAC) no longer carries sodas and ice cream, and drinks are only available through the Bistro. The snack bar, run by Takako Roach, still sells à la carte items, such as breadsticks,

Photos by Jennifer Lim

Left: At lunch, students wait in line to buy food from Chartwells, which replaced Sodexho as the food vendor at Gunn. Top: Pasta with a variety of toppings and dressings is just one of many new options Chartwells provides. cookies, pre-packaged salads, milk and juice. Food is only sold in both the Bistro and snack bar during brunch and lunch, as opposed to last year, when food was available from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Other improvements to food

services are also underway. For example, Aitken said that the district has posted four food service positions. If these positions are filled, possibilities include opening food kiosks on campus away from the Bistro. Also, Aitken hopes to

implement a point of sale system, which is a cashless system in which students pay for meals by debiting money from an account. The Student Nutrition Advisory Committee, which comprises 24 parents, students, teachers, nurses

and locals, give input as to what they would like to see from Chartwells. Ideas can also be submitted to Aitkin at “One member emailed me and suggested making homemade dressing,” Aitken said.

Fundraiser gains support Administration

reviews dance policy

■ KATRINA, from page 1 Karen Oppenheim said. “I felt everyone inside the theater was closely connected by a common goal of generosity.” Many clubs came to provide assistance. “Really, weʼre here because our current president [junior Tiffany Chow] thinks it would be good for publicity,” alumni and ex-president of the Comix Club Madeline Graham said. “But Iʼm just here because I felt it would be fun to draw.” Staff members Lynn Navarro, Lisa Wu and SooLing Chan donated apparel like scarves and jewelry to be sold at the Arts and Edibles fair. Clubs like SASA, Interact, Francis Rules and Pandoraʼs Box also helped sell food and apparel. The Open Mic Night had about 25 artists performing everything from musical performances to stand- up comedy and slam. “It was fun watching my peers on stage,” senior Anna Wachtel said. “There was definitely that community feel. I was surprised it ended so soon. I was having a good time. They were all great acts and it didnʼt matter if they messed up—it was a good atmosphere.” The Palo Alto Slam team also made an appearance. The event ended with a song from English teacher Mark Hernandez. “It was fantastic to see how everyone stood up in the end and raved to Mr. Hernandezʼs song,” senior Osma Dossani said. “It was a good ending.” The relief effort raised a total of $3,088. “Itʼs hard to get up there and bear your soul to everyone, but I think everyone left feeling great about it,” president of the Thespian society senior Alana Ju said.

■ DANCE, from page 1

Photo courtesy of Carole Bataillard

Senior Caroline Hudson sells Open Mic Night tickets. Many businesses and people donated foods and accessories to sell.

Gunn is not the only place to host dances. “If you want to do [freak dancing], do it somewhere else,” Likins said. “But if you want to go to a school dance, do so appropriately.” In response to concern that the ban on “freak dancing” will result in smaller attendance to the dances and in turn less revenue for the school, Likins said there is little need to worry—money is not a central concern. “If [revenues] become our paramount concern, we lose sight of the greater issue,” she said. “This crossing of the line into inappropriate behavior I do not think I can endure.” Many students, however, do not welcome the changes. “People should dance however they want, so much as it is not oversexual,” senior A.J. Giaccia said. “Kicking people out of dances is kind of harsh.” Yet although many students agree with Giaccia that freaking is a student right, many have a differ-

If you want to do [freak dancing], do it somewhere else. But if you want to go to a school dance, do so appropriately. — Principal Noreen Likins ent take on the issue, such as senior Susan Wu. “I think [freaking] will happen anyway, so controlling it is pointless,” Wu said. There seems to be discord as to whether the new policy would affect dance attendance. Wu believes the policy will not deter students. “People know how to stop to avoid teachers and chaperones,” Wu said. But Giaccia disagrees. “Once people start getting kicked out of dances, attendance will definitely fall,” Giaccia said.

Post-grad program promotes vocational and living skills HOPE to prepare grads for life work Dan Li News Editor

Gunn has started a new program for Gunn graduates aimed at developing their functional living and vocational skills. The pre-vocational program prepares

students for the Post-Senior HOPE program at HOPE Services in Mountain View. During B and C periods, HOPE teacher Andrea Thompson and her assistants work with students on functional living skills. “Things like cooking, hygiene, community outings and home life skills [are] taught,” Thompson wrote in an email to the Gunn staff. Students take various regular classes during the rest of the morning, including Ceramics,

Fiber Arts, Choir and Physical Education. In the afternoon, students go to HOPE Services in Mountain View, which has been established for five years, to receive vocational training. The students are 18 or older and may stay in high school until age 22. “The transition is meant to get [the students] acclimated to the HOPE program,” Thompson said. “They currently only go there two hours a day.”

Jonathan Cheung

A postsenior student cooks under the supervision of HOPE teacher Andrea Thompson as part of the new pre-vocational program.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005 ◆

Page 5 ◆ The Oracle



Alex Watson

Preparing for “The Big One” When, not if, the question for the next big earthquake. Are we ready?


n the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hitting the Gulf Coast, Californians are being forced to reevaluate—just how safe are we from natural disasters here on the West Coast? Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast as a category-four hurricane, with wind speeds of up to 160 miles per hour and torrential rains. Houses were destroyed and approximately 1000 people have been found dead. While hurricanes are not possible in California, there are other potential threats of equal danger. The main threat we need to address is that of a large earthquake. An earthquake larger than any we have dealt with before, an earthquake larger than the magnitude 7.5 quake of 1906 that nearly destroyed San Francisco. If an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 or greater hit California, such as the one that

struck Chile in 1960, the destruction would be far more severe than that of Hurricane Katrina. Though seismologists have been forecasting a giant quake for years, California remains relatively unprepared to handle one. While many buildings have been retrofitted to withstand an earthquake,

story” wood frame apartments in California, which could collapse. There are another 40,000 structures made from a type of concrete prone to cracking, and are therefore earthquake hazards. Californians need to take steps to further prepare themselves for this inevitable tremor. All house-

The Opinion of The Oracle

thousands have not been. Over 900 hospital buildings have yet to be upgraded, and more than 7,000 school buildings would not be safe in the event of an earthquake. In all, there are about 70,000 “soft

holds should have an earthquake plan, accounting for the basics of safety and survival in the event of a major earthquake. Neighborhoods should also have emergency plans to account for and rescue

residents. Although it is impossible to avert an earthquake, it is possible to be prepared for one when it comes. The California Office of Emergency Services (OES) advises that families prepare for an earthquake with at least three days worth of food, water and medical supplies. Families should choose a person in the immediate vicinity to contact in case family members get separated. They should establish all the possible exits in the house and make sure to keep these exits clear. For the complete list of ways to prepare for an earthquake, visit the OES website (Google search OES). Though California may never see Hurricane Katrina or Rita wreaking havoc on its coast, it will see an earthquake. It is not a question of if, but when–and being unprepared is a risk we cannot afford to take.

The truth about hazing Over the past five years, there have been great efforts made by the Gunn High School Administration to remove hazing from Gunn High School. Hazing is any activity perpetrated by another student that would make a student physically or emotionally uncomfortable. The penalty for this is suspension, and it doesnʼt matter if it the perpetrators are doing it to a friend or a stranger. Gunn High School has a zero-tolerance policy in regards to hazing. Hazing can take many forms. When people think of hazing many think of brutal acts against the will of another. While extreme cases of hazing can be self evident for b ei ng w rong, ma ny people have a hard time understanding other acts, such as drawing an “F ” on a freshmanʼs head, also constitutes hazing. Some students knew what they did was wrong, while others thought their acts were benign. But any student who initiated or was involved in the hazing was suspended for up to three days. Gunn High School will continue to take aggressive action on hazing. Veteran teachers have commented that hazing is down dramatically from years ago. We are proud that hazing is down and we will continue to do our part to make sure that all Gunn students feel as safe as possible when they are on the Gunn campus. —To m Ja cou b ows k y, Dean of Students

Gunn must publicize resources to report abuse Recent sexual abuse charges in PAUSD merit altering current system Upon sensing danger, a good parent will protect his or her child, even if the threat is not confirmed. During the last couple of months, three sex-related incidents involving programs affiliated with the school district have surfaced. It is unfortunate that the local press chose to disclose the suspectsʼ names before they received fair trials. However, due to the numerous charges in such a short time span, the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) needs to take additional measures to safeguard its students, even if the alleged perpetrators have yet to be convicted. While sexual misconduct runs rampant in society, its penetration through the shelter of schools, along with the involvement and potential abuse of minors, is unacceptable. Former Palo Alto High School soccer coach Jeff van Gastel, 34, is charged of providing alcohol to players on his club team who were under 21 and having sex with three 18-year-old women. Veteran Jordan

P.E. teacher and coach Bill Giordano, 59, is charged with having sex with a member of his volleyball team from 1991 to 1994—a second victim came forward, alleging a relationship that took place in 2002. Fire Explorer director Tony Graham, 28, admitted to having

programs. The Gunn administration already educates coaches on appropriate conduct with athletes. Specific provisions listed in the coachesʼ manual discourage intimate coach-athlete relations. Additionally, by 2008, California will require all coaches to attend a class

The Opinion of The Oracle

sex with three participants of Emergency Medical Response, who range from 14- to 17-years-old. In light of the allegations of abuse by local youth leaders, the PAUSD community needs to become more active in communicating with and educating all individuals involved in school-related extracurricular

and obtain certification. But more needs to be done. Part of the solution is to publicize the resources available for students to report abuse. All secondary schools in the district have an on-campus Adolescent Counseling Services (ACS) program available to students free of charge. While the

schools do advertise this service to some extent, most students are unaware of this program or afraid to use it. ACS could reach out to more students who may be at risk by making presentations to those involved in school-related extracurricular programs. These talks would provide more personalized and detailed information, making the program more accessible. Additionally, sexual harassment awareness training should extend throughout the secondary school years. The average Gunn student only learns about sexual harassment during a week-long course in P.E. classes. Training should be extended and spread throughout four years. Currently, the Gunn administration is planning a semester-long living skills course that will become a graduation requirement. That course should emphasize discussion of situations that can be considered harassment and the consequences of such behavior. Leaders of pro-

grams sponsored or affiliated with the school district should also undergo similar training. The administrators in each school must also pay closer attention to school-related programs. While scrupulously monitoring each program is laborious and unnecessary, the school should maintain a dialogue with directors, participants and parents of its programs. By encouraging all sides to share their concerns, these schools will allow for a more transparent community less prone to such incidents. Only by putting our problems and concerns out in the open can we look to correcting them. Short of becoming Big Brother, the PAUSD and its schools can counter the recurrence of the recent incidents by aggressively educating its staff and students on sexual harassment and maintaining an open dialogue with those who need support. Only an open community can close its doors to abusers.

Page 6 ◆ The Oracle ◆

The Oracle

Wednesday, October 5, 2005



Saturday School: effective truancy deterrent?

780 Arastradero Rd Palo Alto, CA 94306 (650) 354-8238

Editorial Board

Editor-in-Chief Andrea Wong Managing Lauren Krensky, Tony Liu News Sree Kode, Dan Li Forum Misha Guttentag, Gea Kang, John Greely (associate) Features Janice Kwong, Anthony Wang, Adrienne Nguyen (associate)

Graphics by Stephen Chao


Fair punishment reinforces good behavior

Centerfold Shiv Kachru, Marianne Kvitko, Emily Wang Entertainment Howard Chen, Stephanie Wu, Maya Tanaka (associate) Sports Amar Ghose, Ana Kostioukova, Alex Shau Photography Jonathan Cheung Graphics Johnny Chang Technical Jonathan Cheung, Dan Li Staff

Business Shoshana Leeder, Darryl Liu Circulation Ellen Holtzman, Natalie Kirkish Reporters Brennan Bird, Moses Lai, Alex Lee, Vivien Tsao Graphic Artists Stephen Chao, Brett Labash, Julius Tarng Photographer Jennifer Lim Adviser Kristy Garcia The Oracle is published by and for the students of Henry M. Gunn Senior High School. The unsigned editorials that appear in this publication represent the majority opinion of the editorial staff and The Oracle's commitment to promoting students' rights. The Oracle strongly encourages and prints signed Letters to the Editor. Please include your name, grade and contact information should you choose to write one. Letters may be edited to meet space requirements and the writer is solely responsible for the accuracy of the content. Letters to the editor and ideas for coverage may be sent to These letters and ideas need not be from current students. The Oracle publishes 10 issues annually. Subscriptions are $40/year.

Gea Kang Forum Editor Truancy is a problem at Gunn that definitely needs attention. According to Assistant Principal Anne-Marie Balzano, 52 students each had 31 cuts or more during second semester of the last academic year alone. While not a panacea, Saturday School is a fair and effective way to fight truancy. Some critics argue that forcing truants to attend Saturday School will not reduce cutting, as it will not deter students who cut because of serious emotional problems and who need in-depth counseling rather than outright punishment. Nonetheless, for most students who cut out of laziness or convenience, the unpleasant prospect of going to school for the sixth time that week will serve as an effective deterrent. Still others criticize Saturday School as too harsh a punishment for cutting classes. This argument misses the point that Saturday School kicks in only after a student has four unexcused absences from the same class. In fact, a student taking seven courses can cut up to 21 times—three for each class—and get away without


Extra school time cruel, unusual punishment

weekend detention. If anything, the Saturday School system may be too lenient. Indeed, Saturday School is an improvement over the previous lunchtime trash duty system because, on top of holding students accountable for their behavior, it Marianne Kvitko tries to teach them to study. After all, school should ultimately teach Centerfold Editor students, not only chastise them. Also, Saturday School puts both the student and the parent on notice Though class attendance is a that if the student does not shape up serious problem worth addressing, and cuts the same class one more the new Saturday School policy is time, he or she will be dropped an ineffective solution that is wrong from the in principle. course—one Given, the plan may that may be Four cuts from the needed for cause a few same class now forces graduation. careless cutBased on the ters to think you to go to school on exper ience twice about Saturday from 8 a.m. of numersk ippi ng a to noon for studying subject, but ous schools for many stut hat have and campus beautidents, Saturlong si nc e fication. Is this new day School is implementnot a stronged Saturday form of punishment enough inSchool, such fair and ef fective? c e n t ive t o as the Chico and Oswego attend class. School DisOften, tricts, being hit with weekend students cut not simply to miss detention will catalyze parentsʼ school but to avoid big tests and involvement in their childrenʼs at- deadlines or study for other exams. tendance. For these students, attending class School is a place to learn ac- on Saturday is worth the extra time countability and fair judgment. to study and make the grade, and Although Saturday School may not non-attendance can be worth the be perfect, it will be worthwhile if consequence. it discourages even a few students Further, people worried about from cutting classes. It undoubtedly grades would most likely study over deserves a chance. the weekend anyhow, whether at

Saturday School or at home. Making students do their homework is not a punishment. Saturday School will not only fail as a program but also as a deterrent. High school is a place for fostering maturity, and kids should be taught responsibility for completing homework on their own time, not at Saturday School. In addition, because reasons for cutting vary, there cannot be just one policy. For example, forcing drug abusers to come to Saturday School for missing class will not solve their truancy issues. Also, in cases of extreme stress or depression, nonattendance can be necessary, and compelling students to attend extra class may worsen these problems instead of treating them. Lastly, Saturday School may endanger student integrity. Excusing absences requires a parent note or phone call. To avoid detention, people may decide to forge notes and clear their own cuts. Even if some students decide to attend class rather than Saturday School, they can still not participate, disregard homework and fail the subject. This result is hardly better than not attending class at all. There are many alternatives to stop cutting, such as a stricter policy on excusing absences, better parent communication or work on a counseling service to address the causes of cutting individually, rather than harsher punishments. The current system, dropping students after multiple absences, is punishment enough. Saturday School will neither deter nor curb cutting.

High permit prices do not justify cheating the system

Natalie Kirkish Circulation Manager You can save $50, get a prime parking spot, help save the environment and curb traffic. All you have to do is give someone else a ride to school. Carpool parking

permits are probably one of the best ideas the school has come up with. However, people are abusing this system. Some purchase carpool permits while driving only themselves to school. These students may have no siblings or neighbors to carpool with or are not allowed to drive others due to the sixth month rule. Should they have to pay an outrageous fee of $50 and park in the boonies just because of their misfortune? Yes. Traffic is a huge problem at Gunn. I have to leave my house at 7:20 at the latest if I want to

avoid traffic and get a good parking spot. If all 1800 Gunn students were to drive themselves everyday, Arastradero would be at a dead stop from 7:30 until 8:30 a.m., and Palo Alto would be plagued with smog. Single drivers with carpool passes also make it unfair for those who actually do carpool. They clog the road and fill up the parking spots they do not deserve. The price of parking permits is high but justified. Students now have extra motivation to carpool, a habit that will save time, money and the environment in the future. The extra money we make goes to

a good cause as well—student bus passes. Student bus passes usually cost $45 but the Student Activities Center does a great service and sells them for $25, subsidizing them with the money they make from parking permits. Taking the bus also helps the environment as a whole. If affluent Palo Alto kids think that $150 that oftentimes parents, not students, pay is too expensive for a year of parking, then take the free route to school—walk, ride a bike, skateboard or save someone else $50 and get them to drive you. But do not steal a spot from those who deserve it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005 ◆

Page 7 ◆ The Oracle



Stronger commuter initiatives necessary More publicity needed for alternatives to driving Brett Labash

Shiv Kachru Centerfold Editor

Gunn giving up on grass Brennan Bird Reporter


he bell rings, students flow into the hot asphalt parking lot and engines rumble as cars race through the crowded arena, trying to secure a good spot in the long line leading out of school. This chaotic exodus of students, staff, parents and their vehicles begins and ends each and every school day. And with only one twolane entrance leading into and out of the whole school, one can only wonder how much time is wasted throughout the entire transit. The only solution to ending the gridlock is for more students and staff to use alternative methods of transportation to and from school each day. But without enacting stronger alternative commuting initiatives that favor the conscious commuter, congestion and other adverse effects caused by excess driving will continue. Gunn is already on the right track. The Gunn Organization for Alternative Safe Transportation (GOFAST) has set up the Transportation Alternatives Program, which provides students with incentives such as discounted prices on VTA bus passes and parking permits for carpool groups, a neighborhoodbased student directory which makes organizing carpools easier and prizes for students who ride

their bike to school. this year. By walking, skateboardBut what the program needs ing, biking, taking public transit or is an educational program about splitting gasoline and other automothe many alternative options that tive costs in a carpooling group, one students can take in commuting can save a fair amount of money. to school. The only way the initiaUsing oneʼs body to get to school tives already in place will be fully is not only a cheap alternative but utilized is if both students and staff also a great way to exercise. Many develop greater concern for current students who do not participate commuting methods. in sports or physical education The most important action do not receive the daily exercise that must be they need to taken is to stay healthy. educate the Using some The only solution to student popform of ending the gridlock is for ulace about transportathe dramatic tion other more students and staff benefits that t h a n d r ivto use alternative meththese altering or being ods of transportation...” native transchauffeured portation by an automethods have to offer. mobile is an easy and accessible First, many do not realize just way for most students to feel healthhow expensive it is to drive. Ac- ier, get in shape and relieve their cording to the American Automo- mental and physical stress. bile Association, in 2004 it cost In addition to promoting a sense an average of 56.2 cents per mile of well-being, breaking away from to drive a new passenger car. This dependence on automobiles for factors in depreciation, gas and daily transportation helps the envioil costs and routine maintenance ronment. Abstract Statistics reports costs. Commuting costs per day that in 2002, the annual fuel conalone for someone who drives a to- sumption for all domestic vehicles tal of five miles to school and back was 167.7 billion gallons. With could be around $2.50 to $3—not this figure rising each year and oil including the spike in gas prices prices increasing to almost $70 per

barrel—which contains 42 gallons of petroleum fuel, only around half of which is retained as automotive gasoline—one can hardly grasp how much total money is spent on powering vehicles every year and where this money might otherwise be spent. By driving less, students and teachers can impact how much fuel is consumed and how much money they spend doing it. Not everyone can effectively use these alternative forms of commuting. Some students and staff members live in areas too far away to depend on anything but their automobile. Still, many live in areas where these alternative methods are easily accessible. This population should be targeted to help decrease the number of automobiles traveling to Gunn each day. Our schoolʼs role as an educational center should be carried out and reflected in our own lifestyles. We can set precedent for schools across the state by working out a way to decrease our dependence on automobiles for transportation. Until this is developed, an excess number of students and adults will continue to wait in the line leading into and out of school each day, breathing in the exhaust of the car ahead of them.

JLS administrators encourage locker usage New backpack policy bolsters, offers new organizational skills

Alex Shau Sports Editor Leave all backpacks outside the classroom. Keep them in a locker and never bring them to class. Take only what is really needed to the classroom. The faculty at Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School (JLS) has orchestrated a massive effort to encourage an increase in locker use. In doing so, administrators are

not only being practical but also judicial in their thinking. Of course, it may be inconvenient to place oneʼs backpack in a locker before school starts, take out the class materials for the first two periods, then return to that locker at brunch and lunch to repeat the process. Carrying oneʼs binders, books and notebooks in a backpack can be easier than hand-carrying them to class, and students may even risk leaving a piece of homework due next period in their lockers. But before criticizing the administrationʼs actions, one must remember that staff members are not forcing students to leave their backpacks outside of class. In urging a change to the way students carry their possessions around school, administrators are only trying to help students become more organized—an essential step for high school and beyond. This

new suggestion that students leave most of their materials in their lockers throughout the day presents middle-school students with another way of organizing school supplies. If the student thinks he or she is better organized by carrying around a backpack after giving this suggestion a try, then by all means, he or she should take the backpack into class. Teachers and administrators cannot chastise an individual for choosing not to use the locker. Students should at least try something different before concluding that one method works best. Additionally, this new practice would remove stress caused by studentsʼ heavy backpacks—backpacks that JLS principal Don Cox said often weigh around 50 pounds. This number is way out of range of the recommended backpack weight. 15 percent of a studentʼs weight.

In fact, a survey conducted by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons discovered that half of the United Statesʼ orthopedic surgeons had experienced patients with back pains from hefty backpacks, while the Consumer Products Safety Commission reports approximately five thousand annual emergency room trips caused by book-holding backpacks. It cannot hurt to lighten oneʼs load. Again, JLS staff members are not forcing anyone to do anything, and students do not need to listen to their suggestions. In giving students an alternative to organization, however, the administration, in reality, can only help students by lending a hand in finding oneʼs method of choice for keeping on top of school materials. One must keep these points in mind before dismissing its suggestions.

It appears that the administration fired the gardeners over summer vacation. On the first day of school, many students were surprised to find the once grassy green campus now covered in concrete. Areas that were once beautiful are now covered in rock. This change has not only turned Gunn into a barren wasteland, but it detracts from the overall Gunn experience. Before this concrete era, the grass was a pleasant place to sit and chat with friends during brunch and lunch, providing a relaxed environment for kids to just hang out. Now, it is impossible to sit at many areas, such as outside Spangenberg. The emptiness of the area makes an awkward place to hang out, and the black ground raises temperatures beyond bearable. Many once favorable areas to eat and hang out have been deserted by students who do not want to sit in a concrete pit, or be roasted by its heat. Not only is this new concrete wilderness ugly, but it detracts from Gunnʼs originality and spirit. The campus is supposedly what keeps Gunn original, and by covering it up with asphalt, all the administration is doing is turning Gunn into another typical high school. The administration did, however, have its reasons for the new concrete fillings. 1800 students now attend Gunn—800 more than for which the campus was originally designed. The administration considered it necessary to lay down new pavement in order to provide more walking space. Admittedly, many students have had experiences walking in the mud, but it was not such an extreme situation that this campus defacement was required. Most students would probably be willing to bear the mud in hopes of keeping the beauty our campus once was proud to maintain. Our campus should be a place to be proud of. From looking at Paly, one could say the grass really is greener on the other side—and it is a shame that the administration has allowed such defacement to occur to our campus.

Page 8 ◆ The Oracle ◆

Wednesday, October 5, 2005



Sex education inadequate, ineffective

Alex Lee Reporter


espite what parents and teachers would like to think, their students are far from safe. Teenagers are very much at risk from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) simply because the only sex education that they ever get at school is both insufficient and flawed. At Gunn and other schools, sex education places too much focus on abstinence. A recent study by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a non-profit foundation, discovered that 80 percent of the decline in teen pregnancy rates was due to increased use of contraception among sexually active youth—only 20 percent was due to teens practicing abstinence. A survey conducted by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America found that approximately 97 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19—a total of one million American teenagers—become pregnant each year. Despite the clear implications of these figures, almost all of our focus is placed on abstinence, while safe sex receives almost no attention. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, teen mothers are less likely to graduate from high school and are more likely to have to rely on welfare. Their children often have health and developmental problems, and are also frequently poor, abused and neglected. Teenage pregnancy poses a severe financial burden to society, estimated at seven

billion annually in lost revenues. A simple solution to this problem would be to give safe sex the same attention we give to abstinence. Schools and health institutions could sponsor shows dealing with the advantages of having contraception. The Adolescent Counseling Services (ACS) could also have fliers detailing where to go to find condoms and other contraceptive devices. Instead of hiding student options, the school—through it and its related program—should instead publicize safe sex as well as abstinence. “Balanced and realistic” sexuality education programs that encourage students to postpone sex until they are older, but also promote safer sex practices for those who choose to become sexually active, have been proven effective at delaying first intercourse and increasing use of contraception among sexually active youth. Researchers at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 9.1 million cases of eight sexually transmitted diseases occurred in people aged 15 to 19. Abstinence is clearly is not having an impact on teenagers, for they make up a quarter of the sexually active population. Although it is the only guaranteed way to avoid STDs and pregnancy, it obviously fails to delay the onset of teenage sexual activity and thus fails to protect them. A recent survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics found that more than half of American teens age 15 to 19 have engaged in oral sex. This number increased to nearly 70 percent for those who are 18 and 19. However, only nine percent of the teens reported using condoms during oral sex. Studies have shown that gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes and the human papillomavirus can all be transmitted in this manner. Abstinence only works when people do not engage in any form of sex. Although oral sex is a safer alternative because it can reduce teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted

Brett Labash and Johnny Chang

Need to emphasize safe sex methods, not only abstinence, to protect teens

diseases, it completely flouts the abstinence policy that schools advocate. Both abstinence and contraception clearly have their benefits. However, we are currently blindly restricting our youth to an abstinence-only program and ignoring all

the consequences of our illogical persistence. Instead of rigidly adhering to obsolete traditional values, and sacrificing our teenagers, we should be smart and endorse both safe sex and abstinence as a combined method to better protect them.

No-freaking policy harmful both to students, school Ban on popular dancing trend denies freedom of expression, dents school funds

Ana Kostioukova Sports Editor Many times in history, we have seen a clash of cultures between our generation and the generation of our parents, and the issue of freak dancing is no exception. Principal Noreen Likins ad-


dressed this topic in the October issue of the Gunn Spotlight and decided to ban freaking at all school dances. According to her letter, Likins describes freak dancing as “aggressive sexual actions and movements” and states that freaking is “both ugly and embarrassing to watch.” Untrue, unbased and off the mark. Like any trend, some students take freaking to the extreme. Most students who have gone to a school dance have seen the select group of people who behave inappropriately there. Grabbing oneʼs ankles and riding on a guy is not appropriate for school-sponsored events. How-

ever, this behavior describes only a small portion of attendants. All should not be punished for the lack of taste of a few individuals. Likinsʼ proposal in the Gunn Spotlight to take away Homecoming and Prom extends beyond the inappropriate dance moves and “freaking.” Freaking is part of our culture as much as disco was in the 70ʼs generation. Homecoming is an integral part of Gunn culture, and taking it away because of a few students is going way too far. Freaking is a way kids have fun and release stress with their classmates. It also gives them another side to school, allowing them to see and appreciate

school not only as a place of study but also a place to have fun on a Friday night. The administration hopes to stop freak dancing by changing the nature of the music, which means excluding all music with inappropriate or suggestive lyrics, which is basically all rap. Any student at a school dance knows that about 75 percent of all music played at dances is rap. People like rap. Restricting the trendy music people listen to at school dances is an infringement on having fun. That aside, we must recognize that “freaking” and not the nice couches or the pleasant atmosphere

of being at school on the weekend attracts most students to school dances. If the administration tries to stop students freaking at dances, it will not only fail to curb the behavior but also rob the school of much-needed revenue that comes from school dances. According to Student Activities Director Lisa Hall, a school dance can usher in profits of up to $5700. The no-freaking policy will cause attendance to dwindle, and the administration will be faced with good news and bad news. The good news is that no students will be freaking—the bad news is that no students will be there.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 ◆



Page 9 ◆ The Oracle

The addition of 16 new teachers have brought in more diversity than before. Now a month into school, the teachers have meshed well into the Gunn environment. Kathy Hawes Having taught at Gunn for nine years beginning in 1991, Kathy Hawes has returned after a six-year leave. During these years, she taught at Graham Middle School in Mountain View. This year, she is teaching a total of five periods of AB Calculus AP as well as Trigonometry/ Analytical H. Hawes is “very excited to be back and to see new faces who are motivated to learn.” She enjoys having a good time, going to see movies, plays, and concerts. This year, she has even attended the Oprah Winfrey Post Academy Awards Show in Los Angeles.

Lorna Wilson This is math teacher Lorna Wilsonʼs second year teaching. Last year, she taught at Gilroy Middle School. This year, she is teaching four periods of Algebra 1. She enjoys teaching at Gunn due to the highly motivated students and the learning environment. The challenges facing her this year are adjusting to the new policies and the rotating schedule.

Voula Tsigakou Voula Tsigakou, one of the four new math teachers at Gunn, will be teaching Algebra 1 and Geometry/Algebra 2 to freshman. She was a teacher at San Rafael High School. She enjoys cooking, dancing, shopping and being outdoors. She likes it here at Gunn, but admits that “one of the challenges is adjusting to the rotating schedule.”

Sarah Stapp Physical education teacher Sarah Stapp has taught for two years. She adores it here at Gunn especially because of the overall higher emphasis on learning. Stapp studied at Sacramento State and was a member of the womenʼs basketball team. She also coached the same womenʼs basketball team soon after she graduated. An avid fan of basketball, she enjoys playing the sport in her free time and even knows a few players of the Sacramento Kings personally. Ayako Urao Some teachers enjoy quiet activities in their spare time, but new language teacher Ayako Urao likes to salsa dance. She developed her liking for salsa dance through free classes and learned flamenco this summer in Salamanca. One reason Urao enjoys teaching is for its versatility. “You can be an artist, you can be a writer, you can be anything when youʼre a teacher,” Urao said. Urao hopes students will gain confidence in reading and speech and gaining exposure to language outside of school.

Selena Hendrix-Smith Although this is new Physical Education teacher Selena Hendrix-Smithʼs first year teaching at Gunn, this isnʼt her first year teaching in PAUSD. Last year, she taught Adapted PE—a class specifically designed for students with special needs. This year, she will be teaching five periods of freshman PE, including fitness testing, CPR, first aid and living skills. Hendrix-Smith enjoys working with the youth so much that she traveled to Trinidad for a month to help deaf children learn the American Sign Language (ASL). Gabriella Garga-Dominguez Gabriella Garga-Dominguez was born in Santiago, Chile, and came to California in 1997 and has been teaching ever since. Leaving her homeland has enforced her love of Spanish. “Once you move out of your country, you really begin to appreciate your language,” she said. According to her, young people act more natural and authentic than adults in expression. “My favorite part of teaching is to see the reactions of students,” Dominguez said.

Faith Hilal New social studies teacher Faith Hilal has taught at an international school in Morocco. “They speak English here and itʼs less diverse here,” Hilal said. “For every 20 students back at the school in Morocco, you could expect 14 different languages to be represented.” This will be her third year teaching and she is thrilled to not only be teaching her favorite subject, but also to be here at Gunn. An obstacle she will have to overcome throughout this year will be figuring out which way is the best to reach the students individually. Chris Stallings Chris Stallings, who is a new science teacher, teaches Biology 1, 1A and 1AC this year. He enjoys running and doing all kinds of trivia in his spare time. He is a Jeopardy winner. This will be his 12th year as a teacher. “I look forward to just becoming a better teacher, learning new things and having an actual summer with the sun and everything,” Stallings said.

Ann Nyffeler Not only new to Gunn, but California too, Ann Nyffeler now teaches in the social studies department. She has been volunteering and teaching in schools for five years. Nyffeler taught at a school in Florida in a college town that was very similar to Gunn but without an open campus. She looks forward to working with great students this year. “I love my job,” Nyffeler said, “Iʼm right where I want to be working with great students and staff.”

Kate Morgan The upcoming year is going to be an exciting one for Kate Morgan, a new science teacher. She has found that the culture at Gunn is very unique. The students are down to earth, but they work hard. “My students are great!” Morgan said. “They make me laugh and definitely keep me on my toes, but they work hard and they are what makes my days at Gunn enjoyable.” She has already met a few of the other science teachers and a few of them are new this year so the ones that have had experience at Gunn before have been very supportive.

John Sphar As a long-term substitute for Angela Merchant, John Sphar looks forward to teaching her freshman Biology class. “I look forward to all my students being successful in school and getting really excited about science like I do,” Sphar said. This is his first time teaching high schoolers, but he has had experience through substituting and teaching corporate classes and outdoor skills the last 20 years.As Sphar is settling into the Gunn environment, he is working his way through the biggest challenge he has had at Gunn so far—the rotating schedule. Mark Gleason New art teacher Mark Gleason taught in Connecticut where he was also a high school art teacher. He owns exhibitions of paintings in Tokyo, LA and San Francisco. “I love it [Gunn]. It suits my particular style,” Gleason said. He used to be a DJ and work with Moby and he owns a bull terrier dog. At Gunn, Gleason enjoys working with the high school age group and helping them develop their artistic talents into the next step.

Rajeev Virmani New math teacher Rajeev Virmani has been teaching high school students for three years. He previously taught at St. Francis High School in Sacramento, an all-girlsʼ school. This year, Virmani will be teaching Geometry 1 and Algebra 1A with a total of five periods. A graduate of Leland High School in San Jose, Virmani recently returned to his roots by moving to San Francisco. He is an enthusiastic sports fan and once worked with children in the slums of India for eight months. Virmani enjoys the new environment here and feels that Gunn takes high performance to the next level.

Jarron Pagan New Math-Science Secretary Jarrod Pagan has another life outside of Gunn. Currently a member of the band CMYK, he enjoys playing the guitar, keyboard and drums, in addition to singing. As a performer, he has had the privilege of meeting at least 50 famous musicians. He is friends with Robert Smith of The Cure and Davey Havok of AFI.

Ellen Feigenbaum An attorney for many years, Ellen Feigenbaum decided to take up teaching as career and is currently teaching English. Last year, she was hired to teach two English courses in the spring, after being a studentteacher in the fall. “I feel extremely fortunate to be teaching English at Gunn,” she said. Outside of school and other activities like reading, seeing movies, running and traveling, she enjoys most of all spending time with her husband, two teenage kids and three dogs. —Compiled by Marianne Kvitko, Adrienne Nguyen and Emily Wang, graphic s by Johnny Chang

Page 10 ◆ The Oracle ◆

Wednesday, October 5, 2005



Artist receives “capitol” honor

Gunn senior wins prestigious annual art contest in Washington D.C. Andrea Wong Editor-in-Chief

There is a secret underground pathway that connects the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C., to the Capitol. For senior Hyun-Jin Yoo, this is the current home to her award-winning oil painting. Yooʼs first oil painting, “In a Moment of Time,” was selected as a winner of the Annual Congressional Art Contest for the 14th Congressional District. “In a Moment of Time” is inspired by Yooʼs photograph of the exterior of a restaurant in San Francisco, which she took as she passed by in a car. The painting, however, is her rendition of what the interior could be in a moment of time, as the pieceʼs title reflects. “There are four people in a group talking while there are a lot of things going on at the time, like a car passing or a woman calling on her phone,” Yoo said. Students submit two-dimensional artwork ranging from paintings and drawings to photographs and silkscreen prints. Winners are representative of all districts in the United States. According to Congresswoman Anna Eshooʼs Communications Director Lauren Shapiro, Yooʼs painting represents the district very well. Many employees and visitors will see her painting everyday. According to art teacher Deanna Messinger, Gunn has not had a winner during the past seven years she has taught here. Winners of this contest received Southwest Airline tickets to Washington, D.C. to attend the contestʼs reception. Messinger accompanied Yoo on this trip. Yoo heard about the Annual Congressional Art Contest through Messinger. Three students from Messingerʼs classes submitted art-

Photo courtesy of Hyun -Jin Yoo

Photo courtesy of Hyun-Jin Yoo

Emily Wang

work. “I advise not to be controversial, as it is judged with the idea that it will be displayed in our nationʼs capital,” Messinger said. “I encourage them to express something that is personal about their lives, environment, or surroundings that are unique to them, or our area.” The vignettes embedded in “In a Moment of Time” are characteristic of Yooʼs pieces. According to Yoo, she incorporates many stories into one picture. “One of my art teachers said to go beyond just paper, like you can break through the walls,” Yoo said. “Another art teacher said to express your ideas on the paper and donʼt pay too much attention to one thing, but the overall picture.

This way you can express your ideas and experiences.” Besides her latest accomplishment, Yoo also has notable pieces on display locally. Last year, the Palo Alto Art Commission and the Palo Alto Utilities jointly held a public competition that selected 10 artists to paint utility boxes in downtown Palo Alto with solar power themes. Contestants submitted proposals, and a panel of eight judges—seven from the Palo Alto Art Commission and one from the Palo Alto Utilities—chose the winners. Yoo was surprised to be selected as an artist. “I heard the judge was really picky,” Yoo said. Her box is located on Hamilton Av-

Left: Yoo paints in the art room during her AP studio art class. Top right: Award-winning painting “In a Moment of Time” in on display in D.C. Bottom right: Yoo paints a utility box in downtown Palo Alto.

enue in downtown Palo Alto. Yoo was selected to decorate a box. Yooʼs opportunity to paint in public is different from her usual work. “It was my first time doing public art,” Yoo said. “I was standing in the middle of the street in the sun painting the utility box.” Also, she met fellow utility box painters. “It was fun meeting professional artists,” Yoo said. Yooʼs artistic talent finds its roots in her childhood. Since kindergarten, her favorite subject has been art, she said. Since her sophomore year, she has been attending an art academy in San Jose. At Gunn, she has taken numerous art classes and is now taking AP Studio Art.

“At this point in Hyun-Jinʼs artistic career she is still experimenting with style, which is just right, Messinger said. “However, if I were to describe what I have seen as a pattern in her painting, it would be somewhat of German Expressionism in style, using layers of dark, earth tones, building up a delightful surface texture with expressive quality.” Currently, Yoo is compiling a portfolio for college, where she plans on majoring in art. Awards and competitions are only snippets that make up the full picture of Yooʼs artistic career and her painting in the Cannon Tunnel is only leading to more accomplishments in the future.

Hurricane Katrina victim uprooted to Gunn New Orleans transfer student learns to adjust to new environment in Palo Alto Lauren Krensky Managing Editor

If starting a new school year was not difficult enough, imagine being uprooted from the home you grew up in and thrown across country in order to escape life-threatening floods from Hurricane Katrina. But junior Daniel Smolkin did just that. “My dad woke me up early Sunday morning and said that weʼd leave in a hour and a half,” Smolkin said. “We packed up the house and everything, locked the doors and then brought in the plants.” Smolkin, along with his father and grandparents, ventured across country to California to stay with his uncle, AP Psychology teacher John Hebert, where Smolkinʼs mother and brother later met them. “Unlike a lot of residents of New Orleans [they] had the resources to get in a car and fly out here,” Hebert said. “Itʼs good to be with family.” Smolkin and his family were

lucky to get out when they did, although they had no idea just how awful Hurricane Katrina would become. “I was expecting for it to blow over, and I wanted it to blow over,” Smol k in sa id who was planning on going to visit friends from Tennessee. Daniel Since the enSmolkin tire hurricane was such a terrible experience, Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) and Gunn tried to make the transition as easy as possible. For example, students must have certain shots before they be admitted into the PAUSD, but the district slightly altered some of their rules for this unique situation. According to the memo sent around the district entitled “Emer-

gency Enrollment of Students,” the Central Attendance contacted the Santa Clara County Health Department to validate the Districtʼs liability regarding immunizations of these students who are from out of state and therefore are most likely without paperwork. The Health Department then provided the minimal health requirements. Families are required to turn in the necessary documentation within two months or each student must receive the six required immunizations. Principal Noreen Likins was happy with the flexibility allowed for the out of state students. “When John first came in and mentioned he had family coming from New Orleans, he asked if Smolkin could possibly enroll here,” Likins. “I said absolutely. Sometimes it makes sense to have students close to where their home is, close to where their family is.” Smolkin has enjoyed his new environment. “It is different here at

[We] had the resources and can take steps to do the best with the situation, but there are still a lot of people that don’t even have enough money for transportation.” —AP Psychology Teacher Dr. John Hebert Gunn from my old school,” he said. “[Gunn] is twice the size of my old school and spread out.” Though Smolkin is at a new school and has had to make all new friends, his attitude remains positive. “Itʼs nice to have a change,”

Smolkin said. “When you think about it [Iʼm] an upperclassman and in two years [Iʼll] be off to college meeting new people.” Even though Smolkin has found somewhere safe to stay away from the floods, there are many others still out there who are not as lucky. “[Letting Daniel in] was a very small gesture of help for such a huge tragedy,” Likins said. “If there are other students who need enrollment we will do our best to accommodate them.” Smolkin and his family realize that they are fortunate compared to many other families. “[We] had the resources and can take steps to do the best with the situation,” Hebert said. “But there are still a lot of people that donʼt even have enough money for transportation.” With New Orleansʼs reconstruction moving slowly, Smolkin and other survivors of Hurricane Katrina are still a long time away from going home.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005 ◆

Page 11 ◆ The Oracle



Clubbin’ craze at Gunn

Real Ghostbusters

New clubs premier at biannual Gunn club day Stephanie Wu entertainment editor


lub Day has come and gone with—due to the abundance of creative minds at this school—a great variety of new and different clubs. New clubs, such as the Linguae Mundi, Warhammer 40,000 and the Comix Club were dispersed among veteran clubs. As usual, the quad at lunch on Sept. 7 was filled with hustle and bustle as clubs displayed colorful posters and even juggling tricks to attract members. The Oracle takes a look at some of the most intriguing new clubs.

The Equestrian Club The Equestrian Club attracted new members with a huge poster displaying pictures of horses and ribbons won. The club has big plans, which include making the Equestrian Club a regular team at Gunn. “We plan to ride once a week to work on techniques,” club president freshman Daniella Reichelstein said. “Once the team has settled into a weekly routine, we will then think about competition and the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA).” Riding practices begin the second week of October at the Stanford Barn. The club meets on Thursdays after school on the Quad. Card Design Club Another colorful banner attracted potential members to the Card Design Club, headed by senior Hye-Sung An. The club plans to get designs

Robbie Carter Guest Columnist

Jonathan Cheung

Clubs exhibit large posters, give candy to attract members. out for holiday and birthday cards. “Around December, we could sell the cards,” vice president senior Hyun-Jin Kim said. “Weʼre going to donate the money we get to the poor, like through the WorldVision organization for education in third world countries.” The Card Design Club meets on Tuesdays after school from 2:30 to 4:00 in room S5. The Harry Potter Club For all you Harry Potter fans out there, this club is perfect. Hardcore freshmen fans Danielle Edelman and Beth Holtzman dressed up in preppy Hogwartsʼ school wear, complete with lightning scars on their foreheads. A huge poster on the roof announced the new club. The club presidents have huge plans for this year. “Weʼre going to get together and play Quidditch,” Edelman said. “Weʼre also going to make wands and discuss books.” The club also plans to give back to the community. “Weʼre going to

do community service by reading Harry Potter books to elementary school kids,” Holtzman said. The Harry Potter club meets Fridays at lunch in V2. Gunn Outdoorsmen Club The Gunn Outdoorsmen Club is all about the outdoors—from fishing to camping to backpacking. “We started this club because Michael Riley, Johnny Stefanski, Zach Rubin and I went fishing and backpacking a lot last year,” junior club president David Riley said. “We thought it would be fun to go with a lot of people.” Events include shark fishing, salmon fishing and backpacking to some natural hotsprings in Big Sur. “Weʼre going to Baja [California] either during spring break or the summer,” Riley said. “Thatʼs our main trip.” Meetings depend on when the club presidents want to have an event, varying from places like Yosemite to the John Muir trail.

Fighting crime on campus

School hires campus aide to battle rising crime Sree Kode News Editor

With the robberies, vandalism and smoking on campus, the need to hire another campus aide became essential. Last yearʼs aides were Sarah Jackson and Fred Shepherd. At the beginning of this year, the school hired soccer coach and Assistant Athletic Director David Burgee to be the third campus aide. “We establish presence,” Burgee said. “We want to make sure the kids get to class in time and eventually progress towards a diploma. We just want to have them do the things they need to do.” Dean of Students Tom Jacoubowsky hired Shepherd last year, when the school was in need of a campus aide. “He covers the grounds very thoroughly not only in the school but in the surrounding streets to make sure everything is going as it should be,” Jacoubowsky said. Last yearʼs problem was robbery,

Anthony Wang

Jonathan Cheung

but this yearʼs problem is students cutting class. “Itʼs mostly smoking and hanging around peopleʼs houses on Georgia and Los Robles,” Shepherd said. “People donʼt feel too safe with kids hanging around their driveways.” However, the area has been a lot better this year, accord-

Sree Kode

Top left: Shepherd patrols the field during the fire alarm at lunch on Sept. 28. Top: Burgee makes a phone call in the athletic office. Left: Jackson oversees student activity during lunch in the bat cave. ing to Jacoubowsky, who has gotten comments from neighbors on the improvement. “There isnʼt a lot of stake-out or surveillance type of activity,” Burgee said. “We walk around campus and our job is to make sure our kids are happy, safe and successful. And if having a presence does that, then great.”

With the abundance of science fiction in popular media, we often find ourselves inundated with ghost stories and alien abductions. With this torrent of marketed “true life” accounts, we often overlook the fact that paranormal phenomenon is still an unsolved issue. Serious researchers, however, are working hard to shed light on this little known and little appreciated scientific field. Mark Boccuzzi is one of those researchers. He and his team of “enthusiastic amateurs” comprise Bay Area Paranormal Investigation (BAPI). They have traveled throughout California, investigating famous hotspots and private houses with ghostly activity for the past five years. According to Boccuzzi the group is interested in exploring survival. “Some aspect of the human personality survives the physical death,” Boccuzzi said. Usually, the first step for Boccuzzi and his team is to find a legitimate source of paranormal activity. BAPI has explored a number of supposedly “haunted” sites, including Alcatraz and the Queen Anne Hotel. This investigation involving a public or commercial location is known as a “site survey.” “The Queen Anne Hotel has a long history of paranormal phenomenon associated with it,” Boccuzzi said. “We will go and spend the night there. And when we do that, we may not actually be invited by the hotel. Weʼll check in just like regular guests, and very discretely try to document any event that occurs there.” BAPI also takes on specific personal client requests, investigating private homes and properties. These client investigations are much more focused and much more structured. BAPIʼs strict protocol focuses on customer service, satisfaction, privacy and safety. Boccuzzi added that most initial surveys determine “unexplained phenomenon” to be natural occurrences drastically misinterpreted or exaggerated. “We often bump into people that are suffering from some sort of mental illness or substance abuse, or they are truly going through some grieving,” Boccuzzi said. “One of the reasons why our client process is so rigorous is so that we can identify those people as early on as possible.” Once the preliminary evaluation is complete, BAPI begins to detect ghosts. Boccuzzi explains that the method used to detect a certain ghost depends on the experiences witnesses report. “Some people claim they hear sounds, or the temperature drops, they feel cold spots, they see apparitions, theyʼll complain that electrical devices malfunction... [We] identify different sets of equipment that will allow us to monitor as much of the environment as possible to try and capture those types of phenomenon.” BAPI uses video cameras, audio recording devices, temperature measuring devices, Geiger counters, human psychics and electromagnetic field (EMF) detectors—anything that lets the team closely monitor changes in the environment. Boccuzzi believes that paranormal communication will often bypass the environment and speak directly to the human mind. Boccuzzi believes that this phenomenon might also be explained by the presence of intense electromagnetic fields. “Thereʼs definitely some information to show that different kinds of electro-magnetic fields can alter peopleʼs perceptions. Places where people report having strange feelings, or feeling uncomfortable, have higher electromagnetic levels. Weʼre finding that the majority of those fields are identifiable as man-made. For example, there was a woman who felt very uncomfortable sleeping in her bed after she had re-modeled her home... When [we] put EMF meters in that room, we found that it had an incredibly high EMF rating that was caused by unshielded breaker lines on the other side of the wall.” Thorough investigations like these separate BAPI from other investigators and paranormal enthusiasts. To Boccuzzi and his team of researchers, the paranormal is not something to believe or disbelieve, it is a phenomenon with an explanation. “Pretty much everyone Iʼve met has had some sort of personal experience that makes them aware of the idea that maybe thereʼs another realm,” Bocuzzi said. “Anything from ʻGosh, whenever I think of my friend, they call me on the phone.ʼ Or some people have had their own sort of haunting experience, or have seen a UFO... The majority of people have had some experience that they feel rational science cannot explain.” Boccuzzi is certain there are explanations, whether they are “rational” or not. He and the other members of BAPI plan to continue carefully searching for answers to paranormal phenomenon. For more information visit

Page 12 ◆ The Oracle ◆

Itʼs back to the bottom of the food chain. After ruling from the coveted eigth grade throne, middle school graduates must accustom themselves to the formidable presence of upperclassmen and life at the bottom of the high school hierarchy. Navigating high school waters can pose different challenges such as, “Eep! Stay away from the seniors on the quad! Whatʼs homecoming? Thereʼs a pool on top of Spangenberg?!” As a survivor, some of these pieces of wisdom I collected may be beneficial. First of all, despite rumors about the heavy workload of high school and solemn sermons teachers give on class policies, freshman year isnʼt that intimidating. Most teachers arenʼt quite as mean, or in some cases, as nice, as they appear for the first few weeks of school. After a while, the amount of time spent on homework becomes a norm. Usually, itʼs not as much time as one would predict. Even so, laziness often seeps into the mind and demands the person to procrastinate. After a great deal of assignments that “my dog ate,” I learned to “just say no” to excuses such as five more minutes on AIM and learned that prioritizing is the key to every freshmanʼs survival. Without it, all-nighters would be pulled on a daily basis and worlds would be in chaos! Iʼm not exaggerating—researchers have shown that getting less than nine hours of sleep per day for a significant period of time causes one to become less mentally competent. With efficient time management, what should you do with all that free time? Freshman year is the best year to get involved with school activities and extracurriculars. Take advantage of your free time while you can! Once freshman year passes, students get too caught up in college expectations and academic performance to pay much attention to having fun. So, while you can, go join some clubs! Do some community service! Draw some comics and win some debates! Donʼt waste time sitting around doing nothing when there are so many alternatives available. —Viven Tsao


Have you ever felt confused about high s experienced? This guide is for you. The Orac pieces of advice to help students succeed an

What advice would you give to the class of 2009 for freshman year? “Respect the upperclassmen.” —Elizabeth Rea (10) “Eat your Wheaties.” —Jason Zhang (10) “Have fun freshman year, every year just keeps getting more difficult.” —Danielle Chou (10)

What advice would you give to the class of 2008 for sophomore year? “Stay away from AIM.” —Judy Sol (11) “No matter what happens, always chase your passions.” —Mike Lee (11) “Study over the summer and keep on track with homework.” —Arundhati Ranganath (11) “Donʼt slack off, your grades an scored will determine your lifestyle for the future.” —Mia Cheeseman (11)

Itʼs a common misconception to many students that sophomore year is the time to kick back and relax before the hard work begins. This is the year when you should be preparing for the long haul. Guess what? Now your GPA matters! Thatʼs right, folks! Most colleges donʼt count freshman year, but sophomore grades will be a big factor to the college you attend. Better stop slacking off and start reeling in those Aʼs. This is also a good time to start planning for all those big tests the juniors constantly whine about. What are they called? SATʼs or something? Well, now would be a good time to get the facts straightened out and decide which tests you want to take and when to take them. Make a calendar of when you plan to take your standardized tests so that you are plenty prepared for them. Figure it out now instead of struggling with what you want to do next year, as you will have even less time to figure out all that stuff. In a nutshell, you should use this year to make your junior year easier. If you start to think about where you want to go to college, which tests to take and what you want to do with your future, you have already eliminated most of the stress that is accompanied by junior year. Now was that so hard? Of course not. If you stay prepared for what lies ahead of you, then you shouldnʼt have a problem with sophomore year and the rest of high school will be more manageable as well. I did say have fun, right? No, that is not a typo. You read it right. There is no point in lying—you wonʼt be seeing much of your friends next year because you will become a slave to the AP system, incapable of anything except studying till you need to pop four Advils to make your head stop aching. Make the most out of your waning freedom and hang out with your friends at the beach or in the city. —Shiv Kachru

3% 0% 37% 40%

of f r e sh m e n fe el unprepared for 9th grade, while... of sophomores feel unprepared for 10th grade, while...

of juniors feel that SATs will be the biggest obastacle to face this year, while... of seniors feel that 12th grade has been the most fun year so far, while...

35 freshman surveyed, 31 sophomores surveyed, 66 ju

Wednesday, October 5, 2005 ◆ Page 13


school? Had questions for the cle has discovered a few bits and nd simplify their high school years.

Youʼre panting and heaving as you push yourself through labor for the third hour in a row. People around encourage you, telling you to “push harder” and that youʼll “get through this.” Your face contorts and you break into a sweat as you finally finish and relax. In a couple days, a person with many years of education lets you take your many hourʼs work back home with you. Why yes, I am talking about junior year—the most true to form “best of times, worst of times” year youʼll ever have in your academic career. The first thought of many juniors is “Wow, I can drive!” Soon they proceed to clog up Taco Bell and various eateries around Gunn, amazed at finally being allowed to imitate the “older kids” always seen off campus during lunch. Simply put, going out to lunch rocks the first couple of times itʼs done. No longer does one have to wait in long lines to buy a slice of pizza and a soda for $4—a Jumbo Jack and 4 tacos from Jack in the Box, another clogged artery (oops, I mean eatery), comes out to only $3.54. Yet eventually the novelty of going out to lunch wears off, as juniors spend more of their lunches doing (or copying) their F and G class homework on the quad. Which brings me to my next point: academia. Though junior year has been long feared for late nights of studying, extremely hard tests and just overall mountains of stress, its true record deserves to be set straight. No, Junior year is not as hard as they tell you—itʼs harder! Stop complaining about a STAR test that doesnʼt affect you at all when juniors have to take the SAT, a test that essentially determines their future. Compounding that, performance in 11th grade is apparently the best indicator for colleges on deciding if they want to accept a student. Kids are staying up late every night to barely make the grade so schools will think theyʼre smarter than they actually are. But letʼs be honest. The best part of junior year, after all the deception and homework and tests, is when its over—most of the stress is gone and summer of junior year to senior year is the last time to see your friends, knowing youʼll be going to the same school as them next year. Although you can drive, thereʼs no question about it—with all your homework and activites, you probably wonʼt even have the time. —Misha Guttentag

What advice would you give to the class of 2007 for junior year? “Get off the quad.” —Kathy Vining (12) “Donʼt get fourth twice in Airbands...oh wait...” —Christine Rhyu (12) “Donʼt get caught driving without a license.” —Josue Gil (12) “You are who you are—be an individual! Donʼt allow other peopleʼs standards to be yours.” —Joann So (12)

Graphics by Johnny Chang and Julius Tarng

What advice would you give to the class of 2006 for senior year? "Time to party!" —Boris Lipkin (class of 2005) "If you're going to cut class, don't do it right in front of the class you're cutting." —Tiffany Chang (class of 2005) "Time flies so make the most of your senior year." —Jennifer Wang (class of 2005) “The earlier you get into a school, the earlier senioritis can start.” —Brian Weinstein (class of 2005)

20% 10% 6% 31%

of freshmen feel well prepared for ninth grade. of sophomores feel well prepared for 10th grade.

of juniors feel that things other than grades, SATs, APs and extracurriculars will be their biggest obstacle this year. of seniors feel that 11th grade has been them most fun year so far.

uniors surveyed, 123 seniors surveyed

Surviving senior year is quite simple outside of college applications, which are hell. Itʼs probably too late to do anything about improving your transcript or extracurriculars, so donʼt worry about those things. Keep your grades up at an average GPA and colleges wonʼt care. Relax! Get a prep. Get two preps! Of course, there are those nasty college applications to navigate before you can relax in the heavenly halcyon of senior yearʼs remedial vegetation. Let me summarize everything in those books on applying to college and save you some money. Write your essays early and get them proofread by at least three people, including a priest, rabbi or nun to make sure youʼve written nothing offensive. Write about politics if itʼs relevant to you, like if youʼre that lone Republican at school. Be honest—you can add dramatic effect, but if community service didnʼt genuinely change your attitude towards the homeless, donʼt say it did. Before interviews, think up potential questions and thoughtful answers. Theyʼll ask you things like, “Whatʼs your favorite book and why?” Youʼll have to spew out a verbal short essay within seconds. Be an attentive listener—you will seem polite and charming even when youʼre not talking. Research the school thoroughly so you can ask intelligent questions and show youʼre serious. Most importantly, stop putting effort into everything that you donʼt care about. (Thatʼs the only really important advice—all that college junk above is mere filler.) —Jane Huang (Gunn alumnus)

Page 14 ◆ The Oracle ◆

Wednesday, October 5, 2005




seniors Janice Kwong

Jonathan Cheung

Dragging tired bodies out of bed, to the shower and to airband practice became a daily ritual for seniors about a week before the night rally. However, this year it was not about taking first place, but about perfection. Many seniors think that this yearʼs airband has been comparably more work than previous yearʼs. “I think airbands is more stressful and competitive than it has been before,” senior Yana Sorokurs said. “This is the first year weʼve done morning practices and people are a lot more serious about getting everything perfectly right.” Practice has totaled nearly 30 hours within the last two weeks before the rally. But choreographers started planning airbands mid-August. This yearʼs chore-

Left: The seniors hold hands and line up to practice the mambo during a 6 a.m. practice. Right: At Fairmeadow, the seniors practice the martial arts component using chopsticks. ographers included seniors Christine Rhyu and Amy Mayman while senior Crystal Le added a martial arts element. Even the guys contributed by using a Star Wars sword fight inspired by seniors Kyle Gertridge and Eric Stewart. “Airbands is a huge challenge because youʼre basically expected to take 50 people who donʼt dance and make a dance with them,” Rhyu said. “Itʼs really hard to find a balance between what looks good and what people feel comfortable doing.” According to Rhyu, the dance has more going on than previous years and guys have bigger parts. “We choreographed the dance for both audiences, rather than having a front and a back like before. We are not as well prepared though, because Homecoming is so early this year,” Rhyu said.

Afraid that the class of 2008 would defeat them again, the juniors hurried to begin choreographing and creating the music mix early into the summer. However, junior choreographer Judy Sol admits that not all has been constructive. “A major downside about our class is that we donʼt have a lot of spirit,” Sol said. “Itʼs been pretty hard getting people pumped up enough to come to every single practice. Itʼs hard to get anything done.” Having less spirit also eplains why some are less inclined to join airbands. “We would like to have more, but I donʼt think weʼre going to have as many as we hoped,” Sol said. Under the careful watch of the choreographers juniors Allison Wolgat, Judy Sol and Kexin Chen, the class of 2007 worked

in order to achieve their one goal—beating the sophomores during the night rally. With weekly practices located at Mitchell Park, the practice hours for airbands have totaled up to be approximately 50 hours. With inspiration from the class of ʼ05, this year, the juniors have balanced simple and clean with fun and interesting. Designed and put together by junior Shannon Wood, costumes conveyed the overall theme, “a little bit of everything” with an eerie twist. Choreography of the dance required two weeks while the making of the music mix took an hour. Airband members hope they can pull together and succeed in their goals and dazzle the crowd by exceeding the set expectations.

Photos by Jennifer Lim

Left: Juniors get on their knees as part of their airband. Top: At the track since 6 a.m., juniors tiredly listen to instructions.

So you thought those airbands were amazing, but ever wonder what happens behind the scenes? Airband performers share their stories. By Janice Kwong and Adrienne Nguyen



Photos by Jonathan Cheung

Left: Outside sophomore Molly Kawahata’s house, particpants practice drums. Top: The sophomores start huddled together. Defeating last yearʼs sophomores at the night rally, the class of 2008 has many expectations to meet and personal goals to achieve. Therefore, it was surprising to find out that their airband practice was delayed until the beginning of the school year. In regards to the other classes, this year, the sophomores began fairly late—choreographing began mid-August and recruiting for dancers began the second Wednesday of the school year. This did not worry sophomore choreographers Molly Kawahata and Leah Rosengaus. “At the beginning, we were nervous that we wouldnʼt be able to get it done but ʻ08 is pretty united and we always pull through,” Kawahata said.

Practice began during Labor Day weekend with 16 hours over a period of four days, the total began to grow into 60 hours. The practices were located at Ramos Park and were very productive since they knew they were behind other classes. Kawahata spent multiple days choreographing the dance and spent countless days creating and editing the mix. Everyone involved put together the costumes by submitting ideas. Although, the turnout of the total dancers was fairly low, the sophomores made the best out of it.“We had less people than expected, but otherwise itʼs gone really well,” Kawahata said.

Airbands is hard enough even with an entire month to organize it. But imagine trying to perfect the airbands in three weeks while adjusting to a new school at the same time. Even though airbands was delayed because of elections, the freshmen pulled it off with only a few weeks of practice. Freshmen president Ali Maggioncalda choreographed the entire airband. “I just chose my favorite songs and danced around in the living room and used what worked,” she said. Many freshmen participated even with such short notice, with about 45 people

including 12 guys, according to Maggioncalda. To make up for lost time, the dedicated freshmen held practices everyday after school and began morning practice at 7 a.m. the week of night rally. “I liked how the people who chose to do airbands were really committed,” Maggioncalda said. “[Being a choreographer] is really stressful. Thereʼs just a lot of stuff to do.” Maggioncalda hopes to have more time to prepare next year. “Weʼll have a lot more time and practices. We arenʼt very synchronized [this year] and I hope to have more precision next year,” she said.

Photos by Jonathan Cheung

Left: Freshmen practice with partners while freshmen president Ali Maggioncalda dances solo. Top: Practice was held on Hubbartt where freshmen practice daiy.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005 ◆

Page 15 ◆ The Oracle


Despite the relatively small size its members, the class of 2009 was unable to outstuff the other classes during the stuff-a-bench competition on Monday.

At lunch on Monday, tug-o-war pulled the classes together. After three rounds of competition, the senior class (left) eventually took first place, overpowering the sophomore class (above) in the final round.

It’s only the beginning of October and Homecoming Week has already come and gone. This year’s festivities were punctuated by enthusiastic dress-ups, dramatic competitions and even a few suprises. As shocking and disappointing as it was to see the juniors walk out during the Night Rally, it was reassuring to see the school unite afterwards. The week ended with a strong showing of inter-class support during the Sumo Rally and a swarm of red and black cheering the football team. Photos by Jonathan Cheung and Jennifer Lim

Senior Matt Norcia (left) went Disney as he watched the Wednesday brunch activity (above).

The Night Rally showcased the hard work of the airband participants. Seniors Graham Stanston and Christine Rhyu danced the “Roxanne” tango (right), part of a program that helped the class of 2006 win airbands. The junior class (left) came in third, but due to unsportsmen-like conduct, were docked 400 points.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005 ◆

Page 16 ◆ The Oracle




WAYS TO START OFF A SCHOOL DAY 10. Pop yoʼ collar. 9. Bribe your little sibling to bring you breakfast in bed. 8. Avoid a near fatal accident while biking to school. 7. Drive to Dennyʼs for a hearty helping of pancakes. 6. Attend morning workouts. 5. Look into the mirror and say, “I am a beautiful god/goddess, and I love and accept myself.” 4. Take your first shower in a week. 3. If you are a senior, wake up at 7 a.m., go to your one class then go back to bed at 9 a.m. 2. Wake up at 5:30 a.m. to finish your essay, science notes and other assignments you could have done three weeks ago. 1. Get a caramel latte at Starbucks. Naturally, you can grab a cup for your favorite teacher as well. —Anastasia Kostioukova

TECH SPOTLIGHT Nintendogs for Nintendo DS $29.99 Nintendogs, Japanese video-game giant Nintendoʼs newest creation, recently debuted in the United States. Nintendogs is a virtual simulation of raising a puppy designed for the Nintendo DS game console, containing similarities to the once-popular Tamagachi digital pets. The simulation can be bought in three “breeds,” the Chihuahua, Dachshund and Labrador. At the gameʼs onset, one chooses from six different dog breeds to train. The user can eventually play with a total of 18 types and breeds of puppies. Among many of the simulationʼs features is the ability to use a touchscreen pen and a built-in microphone to wash, train, play, walk and communicate with the virtual pet. With the microphone, the user can also verbally command and make comments to the puppy, to which the imitation pet will respond. Players may even choose to compete with their virtual pets by entering them into contests and shows within the game. Already, Nintendogs has boosted sales of the Nintendo DS by 500 percent in Japan. The game can be purchased for $29.99 on Amazon. com. Already, the game has caused Nintendo DS sales to soar in Japan. A huge hit in overseas, this virtual pet is sure to be the next big craze on campus. —Alex Shau

FALL CONCERT CALENDER “Prism Conccert” 7:30 p.m., Oct. 27 Spangenberg Auditorium Wind Ensemble and Orchestra featuring special guests from Gunn, JLS and Terman. Annual Band Fall Concert 7:30 p.m., Nov. 1 Spangenburg Auditorium Symphonic Band and Concert Band —Howard Chen

Generation gap closes between students and teachers through movies Gea Kang & Emily Wang Forum & Centerfold Editors


ith their ubiquitous iPods, instant-messaging programs and thumbs dancing across cellphone keypads for text messages, teens often feel that they are much trendier than and different from adults, including teachers, who do not seem to understand any of these gadgets. However, when it comes to taste in movies, students and teachers seem to have much more in common than meets the eye, although there still exists some degree of generational gap between them. As a starter, all students and teachers say they love “well-done movies,” and for both groups, plot and story are important elements when scooping out a favorite movie. “I like complicated movies with twists and intricate plots because they make me think,” science teacher Heather Mellows said. Her list of favorite movies includes The Shawshank Redemption. Junior Trevor Felch was quick to agree, putting the storyline ahead of what type of movie the work happens to be. “I like well-done, well-written, well-thought-out movies, regardless of whether they are romances that tug at your heart, thrilling dramas or belly-laugh comedies,” he said. Another common factor was comedy, popular with both students and teachers. “I guess what matters to me about a movie is how many times I laugh,” sophomore Molly Kawahata said. Social studies teacher Robert Kelly also said that he has always loved comedies. “Movies l i ke T he Incredibles arenʼt deep or meaningful and donʼt necessarily make me think, but theyʼre still provocative because they provoke me to laugh,” he said. According to English teacher Angela Dellaporta, there does not seem to be much of a difference between the actual movies students and teachers like as much as there is in the reasons behind the enjoyment. “There are probably some films, such as The Motorcycle Diaries, that [my t e enage daughter and I] enjoy but for different Graphics by Stephen Chao

CD REVIEW Amadou et Mariam Dimanche a Bamako In an era of gangsta rap and similar punk bands, there is one singing couple that truly stands out. Amadou et Mariam are a blind Mali couple whose love story is as wonderful as their music. They met at The Mali Institute for Young Blind People, where Amadou immediately fell for Mariam, asking

reasons,” she said. “I liked this movie because it reminded me of adventures and trips I went on when I was young—the great feeling of freedom, encountering new and different cultures and dealing with logistical difficulties. Since my daughter hasnʼt yet had the chance to go on any adventures like that, perhaps the movie inspired her for the future, but I canʼt really speak for her.” On the other hand, Film Literature teacher Matt Struckmeyer, who frequents small art theaters and enjoys situational comedies and social satire, believes that there is a generational gap not necessarily because of difference in preference but because of mass mediaʼs marketing. “Teenagers tend to watch the movies that are marketed toward them,” he said. This is true of his own teenage years, when he used to watch the most advertised movies, such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark. Whether due to marketing or difference in taste, students and teachers diverge more when it comes to modern societyʼs blockbuster ventures laden with technical wizardry and bombastic violence. According to junior Alex Chang, a Lord of the Rings fan, the trilogy is a technical guy flick with action, fighting, death and blood. “The mind-blowing graphics are irresistible,” Chang said.

Dellaportaʼs reaction to the Lord of the Rings trilogy contrasted sharply from Changʼs. She thought that the trilogy, which won 17 Academy awards, has too much gratuitous violence. “Thereʼs so much focus on people in pain,” she said. “Sure, people say ʻitʼs just a movie,ʼ but there is something wrong with watching people suffer and becoming numb to it. Itʼs not good for us. But itʼs not so much a teen trend as it is Hollywoodʼs trend.” Mellows echoed Dellaportaʼs reservation toward violent movies. “Itʼs hard for me to generalize, but Iʼm not into the violent or slapstick movies that seem to be popular nowadays.” Likewise, Kelly does not watch as many straight-up action movies that he grew up with, such as Indiana Jones. Although both teens and teachers love “well-done” movies and share a love of comedies, there seems to be a bit of disjoint in what they perceive to be a well-done movie. Just as teensʼ fingers dash more quickly across their cell phone keypads than most teachers, their brains require more graphic and louder sensory input to register pleasure.

her never to leave him. They traveled together writing songs and composing music before moving to the Ivory Coast to record tracks filled with tribal beats, solo guitar and husky vocals. Before long Amadou et Mariam gained a strong following in Europe and began to tour and record professionally. On their latest album, “Dimanche a Bamako,” Amadou et Mariam mix their regular guitar-infused music with Manu Chaoʼs trademarked beats. The background pulses with life and the rich vocals add to the overall effect. The music is lighthearted and easy to sing to. Songs like “La Realite” and “Senegal Fast Food” showcase Amadou et Mar-

iamʼs talent at crafting a catchy song. The African and Latin beats match their vocals to work to the rhythm of the music, carrying their voices but not overpowering them. Their drums and guitars are always present, and clapping serves as a back beat for many of the songs as well. “ Politic Amnagi” offers a political perspective from the African side, helping the album become multi cultured. Made in both Bamako and Paris, the album holds a multi-ethnic appeal. With their growing fan base in America, Amadou et Mariam are sure to be along for a long time to come. —Maya Tanaka

Wednesday, October 5, 2005 ◆

As Alias enters its fifth season, Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) is hit by sharp twists in events. Rumors swirling around the cliffhanger finale left last season were answered in the dramaʼs fifth-season opener. Sydney learns that her business partner and lover sometimes Michael Vaughn (Michael Vartan) is under investigation and suspected of being a double agent. She questions whether or not their past history, both professionally and personally, was a lie. She discovers that she is pregnant with Vaughnʼs baby and is determined to find out who he really is. He gets shot numerous times but doesnʼt die on the

A new drama series fit for our times—a woman becomes President of the United States. Academy award-winner Geena Davis plays Mackenzie Allen who is faced with the decision of taking up the presidential position when the president dies. However, many forces are against her, including the president whoʼs wishes for her to step down. Fortunately, her loving husband supports her in accepting the p o sit io n , making



EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS Everybody Hates Chris is a new show based on comedian Chris Rockʼs life as a kid. Moving into a new town hurls Rock into a new school where he is the only black student. Almost upon stepping into the school, he meets bully Joey Caruso. Rock attempts to “out-black” him by speaking boldly about his ʻhood, but only gets him beaten badly in an after-school fight in front of everyone. H is day does not get any better


spot. He makes it to the hospital before he flat-lines. For the rest of the season, she is on a mission to find out who has killed her former paramour and babyʼs father. Sydney is once again fighting to protect the world, incognito, while fighting to protect her unborn child. Alias airs Thurs. at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Page 17 ◆ The Oracle

when he arrives home to his sister attempting to land him in trouble again. He also finds out his younger brother, the taller and more attractive one, knows the girl-next-door heʼs eyeing If you want to know how Chris Rock became so hilarious, heereʼs your chance to peek into the sad yet comedic life he grew up in. Everybody Hates Chris airs Thurs., 8 p.m. on UPN.


g By Janice Kwon

him “First Husband.” If a show about women and power is appealing to you, this show is your The drama continues in pick. Even when people, season 2 of Desperate Housewives including the party previwith the Emmy-nominated actresses. ously elected, are against The mysteries of Wisteria Lane deher, she continues doing velop as more and more is uncovered. what she thinks is right. Mike Delfino discovers that Zach, who With such rocky times in held Susan Meyer hostage last season, America, you can watch is his son. how Allen handles herSeason 2 is essentially a way to keep self as the new first the audiences watching by having guest woman president. appearances. The situation of Rex Van T he d r a m a a i r s Decampʼs death is concluded with the Tues., 9 p.m. on ABC. funeral that even his mother attends. New neighbors move in, except—not to any surprise—are creepy and mysterious as well. Lying about her own


Graphics by Jo

hnny Chang

Balancing between surgeries in the operation room, life and relationships is what Greyʼs Anatomy is all about. Chronicling four surgery interns becomes the drama between relationships with their own residents and even pregnancy. Criswidow status, she and her t i n a Ya n g son are apparently keeping someone in (Sandra Oh) there basement behind locked doors. whose seDesperate Housewives is on Sun. cret relanights at 9 p.m. on ABC.


tionship with a surgeon results in an unplanned pregnancy. Ultimately, they plan to separate by the end of the episode and she makes her decision about her baby. Meanwhile, Meredith Grey, (Ellen Pompeo) meets her boyfriendʼs wife from whom he is separated. Even with so much drama happening within the hospital, the interns continue working on their patients. A man must receive brain surgery, which meant cutting off his blood supply in the OR and reviving him back to life. Greyʼs Anatomy airs Sun., 9 p.m. on ABC.

Corpse Bride falls flat, lacks life Undead bride raises hairs but fails to excite in Nightmare‘s footsteps Misha Guttentag Forum Editor

Now that we have buddy-cop movies for action-comedies, Hugh Grant for romantic-comedies and Will Farell for comedy-comedies, there only seems to be one comedy genre missing. Corpse Bride aims to rectify that by raising the horror-comedy from the dead and bringing back memories of Nightmare Before Christmas in the process. Although both movies were directed by the extremely talented Tim Burton, fans expecting to see Nightmareʼs next installment will be disappointed. All this is not to say that The Corpse Bride is a bad movie. On the contrary, this marriage satire has that rare balance of a solid script, cast and production. The Corpse Bride is the story of Victor Van Dort (voiced masterfully by Johnny Depp), who is set up by his parents to marry Victoria Everglot (voiced by Emma Watson), whom he falls in love with upon first sight. Yet the night before his wedding, Dort finds himself practicing his vows in the woods and inadvertently places the ring on what he thinks is a tree root sticking out of the ground. It so happens that “branch” was in fact the hand of a bride, killed right before her wedding. She takes Dortʼs vows and assumes they were a marriage proposal, and then brings him down into the underworld and forces him to marry her. The entirety of the movie revolves around Dortʼs attempts to get out of the wedding, only to discover things in the underworld may not be as bad as they

seem. Luckily, the execution of the story is not as bad as its premise sounds. But it still pales in comparison to the originality of a group of Halloweeners invading Christmasland. As for the technical side of things, the movie looks great—the stop-action animation (puppets moved around frame by frame—think Wallace and Gromit without clay) made famous by Nightmare is even smoother here than it looked before. In Nightmare, viewers knew throughout the film that they were watching characters that simply did not look real—human or not. But this time around all the characters convey emotion through their eyes and mouths, enthralling the viewers. However, the art direction in Corpse is so bleak in contrast to Nightmareʼs bright, colorful sets that the movie becomes less of a visual experience. Perhaps Corpse was doomed from the beginning: with so many similarities to Nightmare, and helmed by the same director, the studio had to know Corpseʼs shortcomings where Nightmare succeeded would be the focal point of most reviews. But when you make a movie so similar to another, you better make sure the new one is better. Corpse aims to combine horror and comedy just as Nightmare did, but while following that formula for success is a good start, Corpse neither expands on the idea nor does anything new of its own merit. The Corpse Bride is a decent movie to go spend your money on, but if you are thinking of going, just remember that it is far from raising Nightmare Before Christmas from the dead.

Page 18 ◆ The Oracle ◆

80’s Child


Teenage Witch

Every girl has been a witch at least once in her Halloween career, but, hey, we can be a little more creative than the generic black hat and ripped dress from Diddam’s, can’t we?

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Jeanie Ever seen the show I Dream of Jeanie? Now you

too can be Jeanie. With a short trip to Joann’s Fabrics you can compile a cute and fun Jeanie costume. Patterns can be found online on how to properly measure, cut and sew the fabric.

Two-thirds of our school was born in the 1980s, so why not dress as our decade did? Jane Fonda was the ultimate 80s work-out guru, so bust out the leggings and leg warmers and do the robot! Black shirt, Walmart, $10. Open-neck shirt, Target, $12.

Fabric to make costume, $10.

Broom, closet.

Legwarmers, Target, $7.

Total Cost: $79 TRICK-OR-TREAT HOT SPOTS Before you skip over this next article as immature and childish, stop for a second. Letʼs be realistic—while some will be spending Halloween night committing various misdemeanors, many will be spending time just hanging out with friends. So why not go trick-o-treating? Face it, trick-o-treating is just as fun as it was when we were 10, even if the costumes have become a bit more revealing. Thus The Oracle has compiled a list of locations to visit on your night of candy plundering. Barron Park Located right next to Gunn, there are a number of advantages by picking Barron Park as your trick-o-treating zone. Many of the houses are bundled up next to each other, meaning street-smart trick-o-treaters can make the most of their Halloween by maximizing the amount of candy that can be “treated” in the least amount of time. The well-lit streets of Barron Park are wide enough for large groups to maneuver

Black skirt, Ross, $9.

Total Cost: $19 as well as safe enough for little kids. Also, the proximity to elementary schools ensures that many families have young children. This means that more houses are likely to be in the Halloween spirit and loaded with candy. Los Altos Hills With houses spread out over a large area, one must be prepared for a night of endurance training if you choose to go here. Like its name would suggest, Los Altos Hills is consisted of mostly...hills. Good walking shoes are a must, as well as flashlights because streets rarely have streetlights. Long driveways and many houses that never give out candy make Los Altos Hills a less than optimal candyland. Stanford Shopping Center For those looking for an interesting change of trick-otreating locales and get a bit of shopping done in the same night, Stanford Shopping Center is perfect! A safe, welllit and well-known area, itʼs perfect for a place to spend the night or as a starting point for a long night of candy

Sash belt, Forever 21, $5.

Photos by Ellen Holtzman

Jean skirt, Hollister, $60.

Total Cost: $15 hunting. Stores usually make it very obvious whether or not they are giving out candy, and due to the close proximity of stores to one another, even if you make a mistake of entering a stingy store, there are plenty of options close at hand. Senior Centers Places like Lytton Gardens and Stevenson House are rarely on the list of places for trick-o-treaters. However, many of these retired citizens are lonely and a smiling face can make their day. While most community service clubs organize some sort of caroling in retirement homes during Christmas, Halloween is an overlooked holiday. Gather up a group of friends, ask permission and the front desk and do a good deed! And if the knowledge that you brought someone Halloween cheer isnʼt reward enough, you get candy too! —Compiled by Howard Chen, photos by Jonathan Cheung

Wednesday, October 5, 2005 ◆

Page 19 ◆ The Oracle


the do-it-yourself BOO-tique

No one is ever too old to dress-up for Halloween, so The Oracle staff and models juniors Haley Perkins and Steve Campbell have come up with six great costume ideas for girls and guys to choose from. A Halloween costume should never cost you anything because materials for the perfect outfit can be found right at home. From sweatpants to yarmulkes, you will be able to make this Halloween one to remember with your innovative do-it-yourself costume. Compiled by Ellen Holtzman


Everyone loves a classic Disney movie and that Aladdin is such a heartthrob! Guys, draw a six-pack on a undershirt, pair it with some old sweats and cut a vest out of a paper bag, then you can take Jasmine on a magic carpet ride. Yamulke, borrow from a Jewish friend. Gunn sweatpants, $15.

Mr. Jacoubows ky

You have two minutes and 15 seconds to get to class. Walk faster. Who am I? That’s right, Gunn’s very own Mr. Jacoubowsky. Ever dreamt of being like him? Want to shout something on a megaphone? Well, you certainly can have all the authority with a pink Polo shirt and khaki pants.

Harry Potter

Harry Potter is the one guy on everybody’s mind right now. Everything Harry owns, I bet you own too. With your chopstick wand, tennis ball Snitch and Gryffindor tie, you will surely cast a spell with this costume!

Glasses, Diddams, $3.

Tie, Dad’s closet.

White button-up shirt, Ross, $15. Khaki pants, Target, $25.

Broom, from your closet. Yoga mat, $15. Black robe, bathroom.

Total Cost: $30

Bullhorn, $100.

Total Cost: $140

Total Cost: $3 Photos by Ellen Holtzman

Page 20 ◆ The Oracle ◆


Wednesday, October 5, 2005


College Unranked: Calming the Admissions Frenzy An evening for students and pare nts with cru cial advice about how college admis sions can be a sensible and productive experience.

Lloyd Thacker Executive Director, The Education Conservancy

Author of “College Unranked: A ffirming Educational Values in College Admissions”, Lloyd Thacker is a th irty-year veteran of the college admission and college counseling professions. “College Unranked” p resents the c ollective wisdom of college pr esidents and admissions deans as they speak out for students.

Thursda y, No vember 3, 2005 7 - 9 PM Spangenberg Theatre


Gunn High School


780 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto

$5 Admis sion – Students are FREE! Advance registration & carpools e ncour aged



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Page 21 ◆ The Oracle


Writing Got You Reeling? I can help. Writing for SAT essay, high school, college—life! Planning & refining college application essays Understanding literature

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Page 22 ◆ The Oracle ◆


Wednesday, October 5, 2005


Girls’ tennis faces rebuilding season Name: Jennifer Yih Grade: 11 Sport: Cross Country Years Participated: 3

New coach and players lead team in different direction Amar Ghose Sports Editor

Many have already dubbed the upcoming girlsʼ tennis season as a rebuilding year. The team faced a crippling loss of multiple key seniors such as last yearʼs number one singles player Jill Klausner. New head coach Steve Ames and key promotions from last yearʼs JV team, such as number one singles player sophomore Vera Yu, are giving this yearʼs team not only hope but high expectations. Yu made a monstrous leap from being last yearʼs top-ranked JV player to this yearʼs top-ranked varsity player and is already carrying the team. “Vera is a very solid player,” Ames said. “She has a good serve and a wicked forehand. Sheʼll definitely be able to hold her own on the court this year.” Yu realizes the differences between JV and varsity. “The preseason was helpful,” Yu said. “It took a little time to adjust. The balls are harder hit, with more top spin. Consistency is also a big thing. You get a lot more 10-ball rallies compared the four-ball rallies of JV.” In the early season match versus Lynbrook, Yu simplified her play and took nine straight games in a comeback victory. In addition to the playersʼ improvement in skill and the new coach, the team has moved down to El Camino League, aiding the girlsʼ chances of success this year. “Moving into the lower league was helpful but itʼs still difficult,” Yu said. The coach is also introducing a new approach to this yearʼs team. “Weʼre trying to play high percentage tennis this year,” Ames said. “That is, keeping the ball in play rather than trying to beat the opponents on every shot. Weʼll let them make a mistake.” So far, the strategy has been successful. Despite a loss to Palo Alto High School in their second game, the girls have won four matches, handily beating Menlo-Atherton and squeaking by Salinas on tiebreaker. Despite losing last yearʼs seniors, the team still hold them-

Jonathan Cheung

Number one varsity singles player sophomore Vera Yu drives a forehand winner down the line. Yu moved up from JV to varsity this season.

selves to a high standard. “I think our teamʼs ability is greater than last yearʼs,” senior Kimberly Wu said, “We should win most of our matches. All of our returning players have improved greatly”.

Boys’ polo defeats Saratoga 16-7 Janice Kwong Features Editor

Ana Kostioukova

How did you get started? “I’ve been running on the Gunn team since freshman year. I didn’t take it seriously at all before because I was on a year-round swim team then, but made it to varsity at the end of the year, so I started taking it more seriously.” What motivates you? “The coaches and my friends— they really believe in me. Plus I’m the captain so it’s kind of my duty to motivate the team.” Do you plan to keep running in the future? “Of course! I want to make state meet in XC before I graduate high school and I want to make the record board a few more times in track.”

A quick switchover, and the Gunn varsity boysʼ water polo team took advantage of an open look to hurl its 13th point into the net before Saratoga could get back into defensive formation. Gunn dominated the game from the start, winning 16-7. Saratoga proved to be a worthy opponent and all ten Titans swam vigorously, hustling back to play defense. Gunn ended the first half in the lead with the close score of 6-5. During halftime, senior water polo players received roses and applause in an annual honoring of graduating students.“I feel that with being a senior comes the responsibility to be a true leader of the team,” senior Eric Stewart said. Gunn started pulling away from Saratoga in the second half. With a couple minutes left in the third quarter, the team

Jonathan Cheung

Senior Kyle Gertridge steals ball from Saratoga opponent and reaches for goal while manuvering around defense.

in the game, upping the score to 16-7. Stewart has high hopes for this yearʼs water polo team “With the talented group of seniors we have this year,” Stewart said. “I see us leading Gunn water polo to many more victories.”

began to score a chain of goals led by senior Brandon Johnson. “We started off rough,” senior Rodrigo Rengifo said. Gunn took a strong lead heading into the fourth quarter. Saratoga scored a desperation point with two minutes left

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005 ◆



Legitimate musclebuilding supplements

Students consider protein alternatives Howard Chen Entertainment Editor

Stephen Chao

In the age of steroid scandals, many athletes are looking for healthy and legal alternatives to give them an extra boost. A magic something that will take them to the next level. Protein shakes are the new “hot item” for athletes, and Gunn students are not different. Athlete or not, many Gunn students are taking protein shakes to get stronger and pack on more muscle. But questions remain: Are protein shakes healthy, and do they work? Protein shakes come in many different forms and brands. The most commonly used protein boosts are powders that are later mixed in with water or milk to create a shake, but pre-made drinks are available at higher cost. All shakes come in a variety of flavors, including vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. Whey protein, the most common, is derived from milk during the process of making cheese. Brands vary in price, taste and grams of protein per serving. Popular brands include Designer Whey and Muscle Milk. When asked about the safety of protein shakes and other nutritional supplements, Gunn Athletic Trainer Alise McBrien said, “Protein shakes can be good for

you as long as you donʼt rely on them for all your protein.” This view that protein shakes are not harmful when used carefully is pervasive in both the medical field and athletics. “For most people, protein shakes arenʼt helpful,” McBrien said, “But they can help certain athletes that arenʼt getting enough protein from food due to extreme lifting regimen or goals to gain a lot of muscle weight.” A common misconception is that students take protein shakes because coaches of sports teams encourage their use. While many sports implement strict in- and off-season lifting programs, protein shakes are simply not a part of the regimen. For example, while both the football and wrestling teams have regular weight-lifting sessions, coaches from neither team encourage the usage of protein shakes. Posted in the Gunn Fitness Center are several tips by wrestling coach Chris Horpel, and one of these tips specifically discourages the use of protein shakes because high school students simply do not require that extra protein supplement. When people embark on extreme weight lifting programs or body building, it is recommended that they eat up to five or six small meals a day to consume enough protein throughout to maximize digestion and protein absorption. However, for most high school students, it is very tough to consume five to six protein-filled meals a day. While not magic, protein shakes can help certain athletes train efficiently.

Graphic by Julius Tarng

Titan alumnus jumps to college ball Shoshana Leeder Business manager

Many Gunn athletes strive to make the leap from high school to college level athletics, but the commitment is greater than one may think. Class of 2005 Gunn alumni Adam Juratovac made the switch from Titan football to the University of Idaho Vandals team after playing on varsity for three years. Despite his success in high school, Juratovac is the first to say that the switch was not easy. Gunn provides a solid foundation for any sport, but college is a completely different playing field. “College athletics is almost a full time job,” Athletic Director and football coach Matt McGinn said, “You must love the game if you want to play in college. Its far too difficult to go to school full-time and put nearly ten hours a day of practice, if you donʼt absolutely love it.” Even so, it takes more than a love of the game to be successful. Instead, it is the amount of work one is willing to put into it. “In Idaho, everyone thinks they are the best so every play is a battle,” Juratovac said. “Every practice is a game where you can move up or down the depth chart.” This provides a greater opportunity to improve oneʼs skills and get immediate rewards. Those athletes that are considering playing in college need to know that they will be playing with the best players from all over the country in their respective sports. Gunn can provide the fundamentals necessary to play at the next level but it is ultimately how much effort an individual puts in. “The only advice I have is to play your [butt] off and

never stop competing,” Juratovac said. “That is the one single thing coaches look for in potential players—is if they are competitors.” Juratovac is currently playing second string on the offensive line, which will give him the chance to play this year. Playing as a freshmen in college at the Division I level is not common. If playing Division I is not an option, there are also Div. II, III and club sports to participate in. “These are usually kids who are very good high school Alumni Adam Juratovac players and they have cuts right during training the desire to continue with the Vandals. playing,” McGinn said, “I definitely feel Gunn provides itʼs athletes with a good base for college.” As Adam continues to further his football career as many have before him, his experiences at Gunn will continue to aid him in both life and athletics.

Page 23 ◆ The Oracle

Bay Area sports in sad state John Greely Associate Forum Editor

Are you ready for some football? I hope so, because itʼs that season again. Time for us Bay Area fans to yet again get our hopes up, only to see them quickly dashed by our sub-par teams. The San Francisco 49ers are long removed from their glory days of Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. The Oakland Raiders already have three losses in their first three games. The college level is not much better . Stanford could not find a way to win against Division 1-AA opponent U.C. Davis, and the Cal Bears have seen their starting quarterback and halfback fall to injury. So what do we Bay Areans have to turn to? The answer certainly is not baseball. Neither the San Francisco Giants nor the Oakland Aʼs mustered enough wins to make it to the playoffs. Basketball season is not too far away, but nobody is looking forward to the Golden State Warriors season, as they have not made the playoffs for eleven years. The weak support for hockey and the San Jose Sharks was further diminished by the season-stopping strike last year. In the four biggest sports, the Bay Area just is not cutting it. We are in a sports slump. What happened to 2001, when the Raiders made the A.F.C Championship and Stanford went to the Rose Bowl? What happened to 2002, when the both the Giants and the Aʼs made the playoffs and the Giants went all the way to the World Series? What happened to the 2003-2004 N.H.L. season where the Sharks made the Western Conference championship? The days of winning are gone, but they will certainly return. The Raiders have shown promise this season, playing tight with every team thus far. The 49ers already have a win this year and have their quarterback of the future in Alex Smith. The N.H.L. is back, and the Sharks will likely return to prominence. Golden State played like an entirely different team last year with the acquisition of Baron Davis, finishing the season with an 18-10 record. One often forgotten Bay Area team has even been good lately. The San Jose Earthquakes of the Major League Soccer (MLS) have compiled a 16-4-9 record and will be the top seed in the Western Conference for the upcoming playoffs. Unless you are one of the few people that cares about Major League Soccer, you will just have to put up with mediocrity for a while. Donʼt get too used to it though—Bay Area Sports should be back in full swing soon enough.

Page 24 ◆ The Oracle ◆


Wednesday, October 5, 2005


Football is one of America’s favorite pastime, especially in high school. The high school football player is an icon, but one that is stereotyped. The Oracle investigated the true essence of the high school football player. This article breaks some common misconceptions and takes the reader through an average day of a football player. By Natalie Kirkish

a day in the life of senior ben arnold

7:00 a.m. Wake up 7:15 a.m. Eat a small nutritious breakfast (bowl of Lucky Charms, glass of milk, two Pop Tarts and an Eggo waffle)

7:50 a.m. Put on lucky shirt, lucky boxers, lucky jeans, lucky shoes, lucky socks and clean jersey fresh out of the dryer.

7:55 a.m. Arrive at school, park car up on the curb. Go to first class: AP Econ 9:05 a.m. Second period: Law 1 10:05 a.m. Brunch: meet up with football buddies on the quad. Shove each other around while planning for a win.

10:20 a.m. Get yelled at by Mr. Jacoubowsky for being late to class 11:25 a.m. Last class of the day: Physics 1A 12:25 p.m. Lunch: Go out to lunch with teammates 1:05 p.m. Prep: Begin silence routine, talk to no one, focus on the game 2:10 p.m. Prep: Go to friend’s house, and hang out for a few hours 3:15 p.m. Game time 10:00 p.m. Go to victory (or consolation) party 10:00 a.m. Wake up and see your picture in the sports section of the Palo Alto Daily News.

Brett Labash

n The average football player at Gunn washes his jersey and equipment before games, but never before practice. n On game days, the more superstitious players wear lucky shirts, boxers and/or socks. n Giving your girlfriend your jersey to wear at the game is cool. n There is not one single captain. All the starters get a chance to

be captain because they change every day. n Before a game, if you step into the locker room, you will not hear a thing. This time is the time for players to focus and get into their “zone.” Some players listen to their own music but when everyone’s ready, they all get together and listen to music together to get pumped up.

1. All Football players are stupid. “That’s not true, Emerson is going to Harvard.” —Senior Ben Arnold 2. All Football players use steroids. “Nobody uses steroids on the team. We all work out really hard.” —Senior Chevy Riley 3. All Football players only care about football. “That is not true, I care

about school and the future.” —Senior Jre Hunter 4.All Football players are bullies “We are all really nice and easy to get along with once you give us that chance.” —Senior Rob Hemenway 5. All Football players only date cheerleaders. “Yeah, the myth is true. Cheerleaders are hot!” —Junior Steve Campbell

The Oracle (Oct. 2005)  

October 2005